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9.7.1: Rogerian Argumentation

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    Rogerian Argumentation

    Rogerian argument is an organizational technique for persuasive argument that works especially well when your reader is not likely to agree with you. It was developed by a Carl Rogers, a psychologist. This argument technique can be effective for persuasion because you obtain the "buy in," or agreement, from someone whose opinion differs from yours at the beginning. In a Rogerian argument, you demonstrate that you understand the other person's viewpoint, even that you have empathy for it. By showing this, a person is more likely to listen to your point of view.

    This technique of argumentation is sorely needed right now in our civic lives. Try it in your interpersonal relationships and see how well it can work!

    The organization of the Rogerian argument is very important for it to be effective. If you don't organize it this way, your argument is pointless--it won't be persuasive; rather, it will just appear confused.

    Here is the organization technique:


    Write a paragraph about the topic in general just to give the context about the topic and draw the reader in. Do not place your main idea - or even give away your opinion - in your introduction. Think of it like playing poker or 21. You don't want to give away your hand.

    Body Paragraph 1

    This paragraph is where you should explain the other person's opinion on your main topic that you can concede or agree with a little bit and explain that point of view thoroughly (for a whole paragraph). Do not place your main idea - or even give away your opinion -- in body paragraph 1 in a Rogerian argument. The reason for explaining the other person's point of view for a whole paragraph is to show that you understand their viewpoint. People are much more likely to listen to your viewpoint if you show that you understand their viewpoint first.

    Body Paragraph 2

    The beginning of this paragraph will begin with a concession statement in which you acknowledge the viewpoint that you previously explained but then emphasize the problem with that viewpoint. Please see concession statements. In this paragraph you begin to give away your opinion by explaining how the idea that you wrote about in body paragraph 1 is illogical or problematic from an ethical standpoint. Explain the problem with that viewpoint for the whole \paragraph. This is your counter­-argument paragraph. Please see counter-argument paragraphs for more information about this.

    All Subsequent Body Paragraphs until the Conclusion

    In these paragraphs you develop separate reasons for your point of view in each paragraph (remember PIE paragraphing!) This is more like what you do in a traditional, argumentative essay. Although you are giving your opinion, do not state your thesis yet. You should be building toward it. ·


    Give your thesis at the beginning of your conclusion. Basically, your whole argument has led up to this. Your thesis may very well be a two-part sentence with a concession in it, which allows it to relate to the totality of your paper (including the first body paragraph). The rest of your conclusion should focus on the future. How should things be in the future with regard to this topic? What changes could be made? What needs to change in order for things to get better? Please see conclusions for more information about concluding paragraphs.

    Graphic Organizer for the Body of your Rogerian Argument

    Directions: Use the graphic organizer below to organize and map out the main points of the body paragraphs of your paper.

    First, write down the opposing point of view.

    Then, write down your counter-argument/refutation – or at least the main reasons.

    Next, write down your first main reason for your point of view.

    Next, write down your second main reason for your point of view.

    Finally, write down your last main reason for your point of view. If there are more main reasons, add them in separate paragraphs.

    Contributors and Attributions

    • Revision, Adaptation, and Original Content. Provided by: Libretexts. License: CC BY-SA 4.0: Attribution.

    This page was most recently updated on June 6, 2020.

    This page titled 9.7.1: Rogerian Argumentation is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Athena Kashyap & Erika Dyquisto (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .