How to Write a Rogerian Argument

A Rogerian argument is an effective technique in proposition debates.

A Rogerian argument is a argumentation technique where you establish a solution that complements both your perspective and your opponent’s perspective. The purpose of a Rogerian argument is to bring two opposing views together, combining them around a single solution that complements and supports both sides. A Rogerian argument is a strong technique, especially when debating two opposing ideas that each has significant advantages and supportive evidence. You can write your own Rogerian argument to support your own ideas and defend your own point of view.

Select a topic for your argument. In academic cases, this topic may be provided for you. Determine your point of view on the topic by establishing whether you will support or deny the topic.

Research your topic thoroughly. Collect evidence that supports your point of view and evidence that supports your opponent's point of view. Read your evidence and learn as much about your topic as you can, from both points of view. Select information that is relevant to your position and your opponent’s position.

Write your introduction in a respectful tone, demonstrating that you respect your topic as an area where you and your opponent have an honest disagreement. Avoid negative remarks about your opponent’s position or dramatic statements about the virtue of your side. Demonstrate that you understand your opponent’s point of view. For instance, you may say that, “The issue of global climate change is a diverse one. While I support taking proven proactive measures to improve our environment, my opponent will suggest that the time and money used for this endeavor could be better spent on more immediate human needs.”

Write your next section, accepting the context of your opponent’s argument and establish a perspective where his views are valid. As an example, you could say, “My opponent’s concerns about the high cost of combating global climate change are valid, and some measures that we could take would require higher expenditures than we could afford.”

Prepare your third section by demonstrating what your point of view is and how it can satisfy your opponent’s context. For instance, you may say, “Many of the options to combat global climate change are inexpensive, or even cost reductive, such as recycling programs and harvesting green energy. These are the programs that we are discussing today.”

Write your final section, suggesting that your proposal solves both premises and unifies both arguments. As an example, you may say, “The cost of my proposal is negligible over time, allowing us to implement global climate change programs, while using our valuable resources to address other immediate human needs simultaneously.”

Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.