Arranging Arguments

The classic method of ordering arguments is from least important to most important or weakest to strongest. Although this is an excellent and familiar ordering, it is not the only one you can use.

In some papers, a chronological ordering may be appropriate. The order of events is important to historical analysis and some literary analysis, and thus provides a natural framework for discussion.

Sometimes arguments should be ordered by theme. If, for instance, you are writing a paper about nuclear power, you may have two arguments dealing with social effects and three dealing with environmental effects. In that case, you would probably group the social issues in one part of the paper and the environmental issues in another. Within each part, however, you could decide to save the strongest argument for the end.

In comparison/contrast papers, any number of arrangements might work. Let's say you were comparing three contemporary novels. You could consider each novel separately, or you could identify elements of the novels — plot, setting, and characters, for example — and devote a section of the paper to each one.

You may find other ways to organize your paper that suit your needs. Any arrangement is fine as long as it effectively communicates your point.