Argumentative essay

These guidelines are for students of anthropology who need to write reasoned essays, but these principles can of course be used by anyone who faces similar tasks. The original version of the guidelines was developed by Karina Vasiļevska and modified by Klāvs Sedlenieks.

General principles

IMPORTANT!!!! The reasoned essay is a well-grounded and structured statement of your thoughts. The reasoned essay is NOT a flowing description of your reflection. So, the reasoned essay is more like a classical piece (with introduction, discussion and conclusion) than Zenta Mauriņa’s literary essay. In this essay you should systematically and reasonably justify your opinion on the chosen topic.

The essence of the reasoned essay is to justify and defend your argument. That is why the essayist must take a definite position, make the essence of the essay (statement) and justify it. Therefore, the reasoned essay could also be called an essay of reasoned thought. It is not advisable to stylistically write an essay that claims to be both different and true at the same time to two opposing arguments.


References should be used in the reasoned essay! Any work that does not indicate the source used is a plagiarism. References should indicate the direct side of the page used (not the full page of the article from the course description) that is quoted / reworded.

A direct quotation is a quotation that uses a piece of work or a fragment of it. Direct quotes should be quoted in quotation marks and it should be made clear that they are NOT your thoughts. P. in short essay you should not use direct quotes longer than 5 lines! In such an essay it is best to use the paraphrase (see next paragraph)! Translation should also be considered a quote.

Reference without quotation marks is used when the paraphrase of an author’s work is used, indicating the author’s name. Example: T.H. Eric in his work “Thirst for Thirst” believes that today we live in t.s. “In a fast time”. (Followed by CONTINUING about what else Eric says.) At the end of the paraphrase – a reference.

Referral templates can be found on this page

How to properly quote and use other authors’ works well described on this page

Essay Theme

The reasoned essays are often given on a specific topic. It is important to read this topic carefully and write an essay on this topic. For example, the theme could be: Europeans are often considered to be peasants, but the mushrooming traditions are also quite strong. What does this affect our character and / or cognitive orientation ?. When writing an essay on such a topic, it is important to pay attention to the settings included in this topic: are Europeans really a peasant nation, which shows that the mushroom traditions are strong, which indicates if it could influence the European cognitive orientation in some way what is cognitive orientation in general. Based on similar considerations, one can form his main argument, which should essentially be a focused answer to the question in the essay.

Remember that the reasoned essay fits into the tradition of critical thinking, so it is essential to show your ability to think critically.

Essay Structure

The reasoned essay is written according to the following plan (the number of paragraphs is approximate):

Introduction (a brief statement of truth, to be proved) Paragraph 1

At the beginning of the introduction, the most important is the essence of the essay and the main thought that you will make in the course of the next essay

The following sentences contain several (eg 3) arguments in the order in which they will reveal the essence of the essay. These sentences must also actually state these reasons. The assertion that “in this essay I will look at the nature of the peasant, historical changes and contemporary consistency” cannot be considered successful. It would be much better, for example, to say: First of all, I want to show that the idea of Europeans as a peasant nation is wrong. Secondly, the importance of farming in life has changed, especially in the last 100 years. And, thirdly, the coincidences that we are seeing today with ‘peasant thinking’ in UK are only fragmentary, and so look for an explanation better elsewhere. ‘

The introduction should be such that the reader has all the essential information about the statements made in this essay.

Discussion (outline of statements, evidence and examples) (eg paragraph 3)

Each of the following three paragraphs reveals one argument (assertion) that has been proven by facts and other examples.

It is advisable to formulate the main idea in the first paragraph sentence, but if this main idea is not in the first sentence, think about where this idea is revealed and what it is in each particular paragraph.

Conclusion (Summary of conclusions and conclusions proving the statement made in the introduction)

Previous conclusions (last sentence of each part of the discussion) are summarized in a summary that either confirms or denies the statement made in the introduction. These conclusions are better formulated as rewording rather than a copy-paste of those paragraphs. In conclusion, you can also briefly outline other aspects that could be considered in the context of the specific claim to be proved.