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How Do You Write a Rogerian Argument Essay?

written by: Sylvia Cini • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 1/15/2014

If you find it difficult to get your point across in a debate, use a Rogerian argument to persuade others to see things from your perspective. This article will provide you with an outline for forming a Rogerian argument. Convinced? Click here to read more.

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    Outline of a Rogerian Argument

    There are four parts to a Rogerian argument. They are: Mastering Essays 

    • The introduction, during which the problem is stated without comment,
    • The re-statement of the audience's current stance,
    • The explanation of the speaker's stance,
    • And the conclusion, during which the speaker highlights the concessions made by the speaker and the benefits of changing viewpoints.

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    Tips

    When constructing a Rogerian argument essay, in which you explore the common ground between two opposing points of view, you must remember that the goal is to achieve a mutually satisfactory solution through communication — not to overpower your opponent with wit, sarcasm, insults or threats.

    • Know your audience. The more you know about your audience, the more you can tailor your essay to draw participants' attention. Having information about your audience will also provide you with a better understanding of the problem and how it is affecting their lives.
    • Avoid negative language. Focus on the positive aspects of your opponent’s stance. For example, if your opponent is against the teaching of evolution in schools, acknowledge and honor their commitment to the education of their children.
    • Avoid controversial side topics. If you know that discussion of other related beliefs and practices would elicit a negative reaction from your audience, then don’t go there. Steer away from additional controversial topics and focus on the matter at hand.
    • Maintain a neutral tone when stating your viewpoint. The final stage of the argument is for persuading. When stating your point, state it simply without misleading terms or flowery speech. For example, change “I have an easy-to-use niche product that will revolutionize your household chores, saving you hours” to "My product will simplify cleaning chores, such as vacuuming and dishes.”
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    This Letter Is an Example:

    Dear PTA,

    My name is Mrs. Maples and I am the lead Special Education teacher at George Washington Elementary School. I attended your last round-table discussion and have been thinking about the difficulties you are having with securing volunteers for the upcoming book sale. I may have a solution that will help us both.

    From the explanation Mrs. Reed gave at the meeting, the primary problem is finding a consistent group of volunteers — you train five or six new helpers every month and lose 10, which could mean cutting future events. I know our students love the book sale and winter carnival. The staff does, too. We would all hate to lose these annual joys.

    I may have a source of steady volunteers that can help with this problem.

    My fifth grade Special Education teacher, Ms. Evans, has informed me that her class is available to serve as student helpers at the next book sale. These children are passionate learners and eager assistants. They are currently volunteering in the library and cafeteria — so they are no stranger to a bit of hard work!

    I understand that working with special needs students may seem like a challenge, and it is, but the rewards for both you and the students would be great. With nearly 25 students, the class would more than satisfy your volunteer quotas and Ms. Evans and myself will also attend to delegate duties and assist with supervision. But most importantly, the students would be learning a valuable lesson about the operation of this enormous event. They would all have a deeper appreciation for the books sale, understanding all of the work that goes into making these little miracles happen at George Washington.

    I will be available from 9 am-6 pm, Monday through Thursday, if you would like to discuss the potential for a partnership between the fifth graders and the PTA. I hope that we can establish a bond that will last for many years to come.

    Sincerely,

    Mrs. Evelyn Maples

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    Analyzing the Letter

    Example

    Dear PTA,

    My name is Mrs. Maples and I am the lead Special Education teacher at George Washington Elementary School. I attended your last round-table discussion and have been thinking about the difficulties you are having with securing volunteers for the upcoming book sale. I may have a solution that will help us both.

    From the explanation Mrs. Reed gave at the meeting, the primary problem is finding a consistent group of volunteers — you train five or six new helpers every month and lose 10, which could mean cutting future events. I know our students love the book sale and winter carnival. The staff does, too. We would all hate to lose these annual joys.

    Analysis

    In this introduction, we gain an understanding of the problem at hand. The identities of the speaker and audience are revealed. A teacher at an elementary school is discussing a volunteer shortage with the PTA. The teacher compliments the PTA and acknowledges an existing relationship, thereby building a bridge.

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    The Explanation

    Example

    I may have a source of steady volunteers that can help with this problem.

    My fifth grade Special Education teacher, Ms. Evans, has informed me that her class is available to serve as student helpers at the next book sale. These children are passionate learners and eager assistants. They are currently volunteering in the library and cafeteria — so they are no stranger to a bit of hard work!

    Analysis

    Here we get into the meat of the argument. The teacher wants the PTA to accept a responsibility and form a partnership with a student group.

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    Conclusion

    Example

    I understand that working with special needs students may seem like a challenge, and it is, but the rewards for both you and the students would be great. With nearly 25 students, the class would more than satisfy your volunteer quotas and Ms. Evans and myself will also attend to delegate duties and assist with supervision. But most importantly, the students would be learning a valuable lesson about the operation of this enormous event. They would all have a deeper appreciation for the books sale, understanding all of the work that goes into making these little miracles happen at George Washington.

    I will be available from 9 am-6 pm, Monday through Thursday, if you would like to discuss the potential for a partnership between the fifth graders and the PTA. I hope that we can establish a bond that will last for many years to come.

    Analysis

    In the conclusion of this Rogerian argument example, we see the teacher acknowledge the potential difficulties of working with special needs students while also highlighting this class' experience. The teacher asks the PTA to look past the challenges to see the possible benefits for this event and the kids. Concessions made include the offer of adult assistance and flexible contact hours. The teacher ends on a positive note, leaving the conversation in a non-confrontational manner.

References