Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Rogerian Argument

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

The Rogerian argument (or Rogerian rhetoric) is a form of argumentative reasoning that aims to establish a middle ground between parties with opposing viewpoints or goals. Developed by psychotherapist Carl Rogers and adapted to rhetoric by writing scholars Young, Becker, and Pike, the speaker seeks compromise, acknowledging positive aspects of each party’s argument to arrive at a mutually-beneficial solution to an issue. 

You may already use Rogerian argument in your everyday life to negotiate with your friends, family, and/or romantic partners. For example, if you wanted to watch a comedy and your friend wanted to watch a romance, you might compromise by offering to watch a rom-com, as this offers each of you a bit of what you are looking for in that particular moment. Note, however, that this style of argument is decidedly less common in academic settings, where various empirical or theoretical notions of truth are often prized above the practical advantages of the Rogerian method.

While Aristotelian styles of argument are often seen as eristic (concerned primarily with winning), the Rogerian argument can be viewed as more dialectic in nature (a conversation between two or more parties with the goal of arriving at some mutually-satisfying solution). Thus, practicing the Rogerian argument will enhance your ability to understand the complex relations of opposing viewpoints and provide tools for addressing such discrepancies sympathetically. It’s also great for day-to-day conflict resolution at home or in the workplace.

However, Rogerian argument does come with disadvantages. For example, because Rogerian argument relies on compromise between opposing parties, it may not work well when your opponents are unwilling or unable to compromise, or if they are arguing in bad faith (e.g., they care only about winning). It may also lead to sub-optimal solutions if your opponent’s position is demonstrably wrong, since in this case you may nevertheless be forced to sacrifice some of your (ostensibly superior) goals order to accommodate your opponent’s (inferior) ones.

In “Rhetoric: Discovery and Change” (1970), Young, Becker, and Pike describe the primary aims of the Rogerian argument as follows:

  • to convey to the reader that he is understood,
  • to delineate the area within which he believes the reader's position to be valid, and
  • to induce him to believe that he and the writer share similar moral qualities (honesty, integrity, and good will) and aspirations (the desire to discover a mutually acceptable solution).

The first aim shows the reader that you understand the complexities of the argument and that you have listened sympathetically to what it is they have to say. This is important, because the success of the Rogerian arguments relies on cooperation and collaboration. The second aim puts this understanding into practice by seeking a symbiotic solution. The third aim builds ethos and rapport between the parties. If audiences believe they share a value system with a speaker or writer, they are more likely to agree to the terms of whatever solution is presented.

While each of these aims is important, Young, Becker, and Pike stress that they are just that: aims, not steps. You should not necessarily view these aims as occurring in a linear, step-by-step process. The authors present a synthesized discussion of what a successful Rogerian argument should contain, but they eschew any formalized structure. The structure of the argument should instead be determined by the speaker, and it should be modified and adapted according to the rhetorical situation at hand.

Again, there is no formalized structure for the Rogerian argument, though the following example provides a foundation   for considering how you might structure your own argument.

A successful Rogerian argument will likely include the following:

  • Introduction (addressing the topic to be discussed and/or the problem to be solved)
  • Opposing position (showing that you understand your opposition’s viewpoints/goals)
  • Context for opposing position (showing that you understand the situations in which their viewpoint is valid)
  • Your position (introducing/addressing your viewpoint as it differs from the reader’s)
  • Context for your position (objectively showing the reader the context(s) under which your position is valid)
  • Benefits (appeal to the opposition by showing how they would benefit by adopting elements of your position)

Below, we’ve provided an example Rogerian argument that follows the formula above. In this example, we will take the position that technology (e.g., laptops and tablets) should be allowed in writing classes while also considering the opinion of the opposition, who argue that such technology is more of a distraction than   a helpful tool. In so doing, we should be able to arrive at a solution that considers both arguments and develops a solution that benefits both parties while still achieving our goal of allowing technology in the classroom.

Introduction

Here, we would introduce the topic and briefly discuss why it is a matter of contention. We would lay out the differing perspectives, briefly mention the merits of each argument, and discuss the implications closely considering all perspectives to arrive at a solution that works for everyone.

Opposing position

Here, we would introduce the opposing position that digital technology should not be allowed in the writing classroom. We would also list and discuss their objections to the proposition of technology in the classroom. These might include the notions that it’s distracting for the individual, the class, and the instructor, and is often used to avoid the lesson and instead play games or go on social media.

Context for opposing position

Here we might provide specific details that lend merit to their argument. We want to show that we are fully considering their claims and not just giving lip service, in the hope that that they will give similar value to our opinions. We could include statistics, testimony from instructors and students, or even examples from media that support their theory that digital technology can indeed be a distraction during instruction.

Your Position

Here, we would introduce our claim that digital technology should be allowed in the writing classroom. We would still want to speak as objectively as possible in order to establish our ethos as concerned but unbiased speaker. We might even qualify our position by acknowledging that there are, of course, situations in which technology should be put away, but reiterate that, generally speaking, the presence of digital technology is a positive.

Context for your position

Here, we can provide examples that run contrary to the ones we used for the context of our opposition’s position. For example, we could gather testimony from students who claim that using these technologies in class has been beneficial. We could include research and scholarship that supports our position and even quote instructors who have developed pedagogy around these technologies. We might even subtly demonstrate that our opposition has failed to account for all possibilities by choosing our examples carefully. For instance, we could easily include accounts of students with learning disabilities who might otherwise have a difficult time succeeding in class without the help of assistive technologies.

Here, we would use the points we’ve established throughout the argument to appeal to our opposition and find some productive middle ground that benefits both parties. We would acknowledge that some instructors do not want digital technologies present in the classroom, as they believe they distract from paying attention during lectures. We would maintain, however, that these technologies can indeed be productive tools for learning—in some cases, they can even be a virtual requirement for learning. We could then offer a solution: that these digital technologies should be kept aside during lecture portions of a lesson except in the case of students with documented disabilities. This way, students will likely be paying attention, taking notes by hand which they can transcribe later if they so wish. However, once a class moves from lecture to activity (whether group or individual), students should be allowed to access these technologies to more effectively engage with the activity, organize their thoughts, and access information. Now that the instructor is no longer lecturing, it should be easier to monitor student progress and engagement and the use of technology for these activities will lead to more developed and better organized results from the students.

Rogerian Argument: Definition and Examples

  • An Introduction to Punctuation
  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

Rogerian argument is a negotiating strategy in which common goals are identified and opposing views are described as objectively as possible in an effort to establish common ground and reach an agreement. It is also known as  Rogerian rhetoric , Rogerian argumentation , Rogerian persuasion , and empathic listening .

Whereas traditional argument focuses on winning , the Rogerian model seeks a mutually satisfactory solution.

The Rogerian model of argument was adapted from the work of American psychologist Carl Rogers by the composition scholars Richard Young, Alton Becker, and Kenneth Pike in their textbook "Rhetoric: Discovery and Change" (1970).

Aims of Rogerian Argument

The authors of "Rhetoric: Discovery and Change" explain the process this way:

"The writer who uses the Rogerian strategy attempts to do three things: (1) to convey to the reader that he is understood, (2) to delineate the area within which he believes the reader's position to be valid, and (3) to induce him to believe that he and the writer share similar moral qualities (honesty, integrity, and good will) and aspirations (the desire to discover a mutually acceptable solution). We stress here that these are only tasks, not stages of the argument. Rogerian argument has no conventional structure; in fact, users of the strategy deliberately avoid conventional persuasive structures and techniques because these devices tend to produce a sense of threat, precisely what the writer seeks to overcome....

"The goal of Rogerian argument is to create a situation conducive to cooperation; this may well involve changes in Format of Rogerian Argument.

When presenting your case and the case of the other side, the style is flexible with how you set up your information and how long you spend on each section. But you do want to be balanced—spending an inordinate amount of time on your position and only giving lip service to the other side, for example, defeats the purpose of using the Rogerian style. The ideal format of a written Rogerian persuasion looks something like this (Richard M. Coe, "Form and Substance: An Advanced Rhetoric." Wiley, 1981):

  • Introduction : Present the topic as a problem to solve together, rather than an issue.
  • Opposing position : State the opinion of your opposition in an objective manner that's fair and accurate, so the "other side" knows that you understand its position.
  • Context for the opposing position : Show the opposition that you understand under what circumstances its position is valid .
  • Your position : Present your position objectively. Yes, you want to be convincing, but you want the opposition to see it with clarity and fairly as well, just as you presented its position earlier.
  • Context for your position : Show the opposition contexts in which your position is also valid.
  • Benefits : Appeal to the opposition and show how elements of your position could work to benefit its interests.

You use one type of rhetoric when discussing your position with people who already agree with you. To discuss your position with the opposition, you need to tone that down and break it into objective elements, so the sides can more easily see areas of common ground. Taking the time to state the opposing side's arguments and contexts means the opposition has less reason to get defensive and stop listening to your ideas.

Feminist Responses to Rogerian Argument

In the 1970s and into the early 1990s, some debate existed about whether women should use this conflict-solving technique.

"Feminists are divided on the method: some see Rogerian argument as feminist and beneficial because it appears less antagonistic than traditional Aristotelian argument. Others argue that when used by women, this type of argument reinforces the 'feminine' stereotype, since historically women are viewed as nonconfrontational and understanding (see especially Catherine E. Lamb's 1991 article 'Beyond Argument in Freshman Composition' and Phyllis Lassner's 1990 article 'Feminist Responses to Rogerian Argument')." (Edith H. Babin and Kimberly Harrison, "Contemporary Composition Studies: A Guide to Theorists and Terms." Greenwood, 1999)
  • 5 Steps to Writing a Position Paper
  • Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
  • Argument (Rhetoric and Composition)
  • Preparing an Argument Essay: Exploring Both Sides of an Issue
  • How to Write a Persuasive Essay
  • Writing an Opinion Essay
  • Persuasion and Rhetorical Definition
  • AP English Exam: 101 Key Terms
  • Propositions in Debate Definition and Examples
  • How to Write and Structure a Persuasive Speech
  • Definition and Examples of Analysis in Composition
  • Use Social Media to Teach Ethos, Pathos and Logos
  • Quoting Out of Context Fallacy
  • Definition and Examples of Evidence in Argument
  • Socratic Dialogue (Argumentation)

The Rogerian Method: A Practical Guide to Effective Persuasion

People have studied and practiced the art of persuasion for centuries. As a result, they have developed various methods of conventional persuasive structures and techniques to present arguments. One such method is the Rogerian argument. A Rogerian way of argumentation aims to identify comparable perspectives between opposing viewpoints. This article will explore the Rogerian argument model and its application in essay writing, including its use in a rhetorical analysis essay.

The Rogerian argument is based on the principles of Rogerian communication, named after psychologist Carl Rogers. It seeks to understand the opposition of the audience. A Rogerian argument assumes that each party in a debate has similar moral qualities and can work together to find an acceptable solution. The Rogerian argument method is different from a traditional argument approach. The classical argument sets up a composition that aims to persuade the audience. In the case of the Rogerian argument, the author prioritizes shared interests and works towards finding a mutual solution. By acknowledging the validity of each point, the writer creates a productive dialogue.

In conclusion, the Rogerian argument method provides a unique and effective approach to writing essays. It prioritizes finding shared interests and shared priorities. By focusing on dialogue, cooperation, and compromise, the Rogerian strategy attempts to find overlapping interests. It does so by identifying mutually beneficial objectives and goals. With the right guidance from argumentative essay writers , you can use Rogerian argumentation in your essay. And also promote rhetoric discovery and change.

In the following sections, we will define the Rogerian argument model and explain its structure in detail. It offers tips on how to use it effectively in essay writing, including how to write a Rogerian essay in writing classes.

Definitions of the Rogerian Model

In this section, we will define Rogerian argument model. This method of argumentation seeks to establish mutual objectives between opinions. Psychologist Carl Rogers is the namesake of Rogerian rhetoric. The argument method involves three main parts: preface, body, and conclusion.

Emotionally charged topics need even more attention to audience analysis. You should approach such topics with sensitivity and respect. Take the time to understand the audience or reader’s perspective accurately. By doing so, writers can tailor their arguments to appeal to the reader’s values and beliefs. This can lead to a more productive and respectful dialogue, which will increase the likelihood of finding valid solutions.

The body of the argument paper is where the Rogerian approaches shine. By acknowledging the major barrier, the writer earns the trust of the audience. This approach helps to build a bridge between the two positions.

The conclusion of the Rogerian argument should highlight the two shared values and priorities. It should also propose an alternative solution that accommodates both viewpoints. Following the Rogerian argumentative essay outline can help writers effectively use this technique and promote constructive conflict resolution.

A Rogerian argument is a powerful tool for building bridges between the opposition. Additionally, rhetorical devices tend to be less aggressive than traditional or classical argument. In the next section, we will discuss the structure of the essay in more detail.

Dr. Joshua

Finished papers

Customer reviews

Mandy

Structure of Essay with Rogerian Method Argumentation

The structure of a Rogerian argument composition is distinct from that of a conventional argumentative essay. The argument begins with the foreword. Here the writer acknowledges the opposition to establish credibility. The conventional structure argumentative essay presents an opposing position, with the writer trying to persuade the audience to adopt their view. In contrast, a Rogerian essay aims to find similar perspectives between opposing viewpoints.

The structure has six main parts: Rogerian argument begins with an introduction. Then comes position 1, transition, position 2, reconciliation, and conclusion. This structure helps the writer to present the opposition fairly and objectively. In this type of writing, the writer also shows readiness to compromise in search of shared interests. In the next sections, we will explore each part of the Rogerian argument example.

Introduction

In a Rogerian argument, the intro is an important stage. The writer not only presents the topic but also acknowledges the other side to establish credibility. This section should also create a sense of goodwill and a willingness to find mutual objectives, setting the tone for the rest of the essay. The Rogerian approach in the introduction sets the stage for the writer’s intention to find a valid acceptable solution together, rather than merely winning an argument. This approach helps to avoid creating an adversarial relationship between the writer and the reader. It also leads to a more productive dialogue.

In the next section, Position 1 of the Rogerian argument, the writer presents the first opposing position or argument. This section should be presented fairly and objectively, without any bias. The writer should explain the opponent’s position thoroughly. For example, by providing supporting evidence for their point. This section is critical because it demonstrates that the writer has taken the time to understand the opposition accurately and can present it effectively to the reader. A Rogerian essay example can be helpful in understanding how to present an opposing view without bias.

In the Rogerian argument structure, the transition section plays a critical role in the essay. This section is where the writer moves from position 1 to position 2 while highlighting the common goals and goals that both viewpoints have in common, which can facilitate finding a valid solution and ultimately help to find the middle ground. By focusing on overlapping values, the writer makes it easier to bridge the gap between opposing positions and find the middle between them. The transition section is an essential part of the Rogerian argument, emphasizing the importance of identifying and acknowledging the overlapping interests and goals of both parties.

In the next section of the Rogerian argument composition, Position 2, the other side or argument is introduced. In this section, you write counterargument in essay. Present the opposing viewpoint fairly and objectively, just like position 1. The writer should explain the position in detail and provide supporting evidence for their argument. This approach ensures that the writer gives equal attention and consideration to both oppositions, which is key to creating a more productive dialogue and finding a valid solution. By acknowledging and addressing both sides of the issue, the writer can build trust and understanding of the reader’s perspective and promote a more collaborative approach to problem-solving.

Reconciliation

In the reconciliation section of a Rogerian essay, the writer aims to bring the two opposing viewpoints closer together. This section is where the writer identifies and highlights the overlapping interests, perspectives, and goals that both viewpoints have in common. By highlighting the mutual objectives between the two positions, the writer creates an atmosphere of goodwill and cooperation in the reconciliation section of the essay. In this paragraph, the writer presents an example of a solution that could be acceptable to both parties. This approach is critical because it shows that the writer is willing to work towards finding a mutual solution for both parties rather than trying to win an argument.

The conclusion should summarize the main points and emphasize the converging opinions and overlapping interests between the two positions. It should also underline the benefits of working towards a mutual solution and demonstrate that the writer is willing to compromise. Overall, The Rogerian argument method is an effective tool for finding solutions that satisfy both parties by prioritizing common goals and finding a middle ground.

The Rogerian argument method provides a unique and effective approach to writing essays. By focusing on finding overlapping perspectives and shared priorities, the writer can build a strong case that is both persuasive and respectful of opposing viewpoints. This approach encourages dialogue and cooperation between opposing parties, leading to a more productive and beneficial outcome for all involved. The Rogerian argument method can promote rhetoric discovery and change.

If you are struggling with writing an argumentative essay using the Rogerian approach, consider seeking help from a professional writer or tutor who can write your argumentative essay for you, or even buy argumentative essays online. To find appropriate topics for a Rogerian essay, consider one that you are passionate about.

Tips on How to Use Rogerian Argumentation in Essay

In the Rogerian essay example, it’s crucial to understand the method’s purpose and structure and know how to write a Rogerian argument effectively. Here are some tips on how to use Rogerian argumentation effectively in an essay:

  • Acknowledge the Opposition. While using the Rogerian argument method, acknowledge the opposition. This helps you to establish credibility with the audience. The Rogerian approach in the introduction sets the stage for the writer’s intention to find a mutually acceptable solution than merely winning an argument.
  • Find middle ground. The writer should focus on identifying and acknowledging the overlapping interests. This approach makes it easier to bridge the gap between opposing stances and find a shared point. The writer should suggest an example of a solution that could be acceptable to both parties. The author should also emphasize the importance of finding a mutual solution between the opposing views of the reader.
  • Be collaborative . Seek common ground and explore the context of the opposing position respectfully and constructively. The writer’s position should be accompanied by a differing opinion.
  • Consensus Building. Emphasizing consensual beliefs and goals is a crucial aspect of the Rogerian argument. Incorporating opponents’ positions and presenting them impartially support finding common ground. By highlighting an example of a solution, a willing writer shows they are not merely giving lip service to finding an acceptable solution.
  • Shared solutions. Understand the context in which the opposing viewpoints were formed. By doing so, you can better comprehend how to write a Rogerian argument essay example in your writing classroom. The goal is not to attack or belittle the reader’s position. Instead, you have to find common ground and propose acceptable solutions. Avoid using inflammatory language, as it may make it harder to establish goodwill. Instead, argue, and remain calm and respectful. And focus on the areas of agreement between the two positions. This approach will help build trust with the willing reader and foster productive dialogue.

In a Rogerian essay example, finding overlapping perspectives is the main goal. By considering the reader’s perspective, custom essay writers create a dialogue toward a solution. This way, they tailor their arguments to appeal to the reader’s values and beliefs. It resulted in a persuasive and respectful essay.

To conclude, the Rogerian argument method let essays prioritize shared points. The Rogerian style mostly focuses on finding a compromise and a common ground. As such, it can help resolve conflicts and find answers or alternative solutions. If you find the Rogerian method overwhelming, ask professionals to write your argumentative essay for you. With the right guidance, you can effectively use Rogerian argumentation in your essay. And also promote rhetoric discovery and change.

Related posts:

  • How To Write A Good Compare And Contrast Essay: Topics, Examples And Step-by-step Guide

How to Write a Scholarship Essay

  • How to Write the Methods Section for a Research Paper: Effective Writing Guide
  • Explaining Appeal to Ignorance Fallacy with Demonstrative Examples

Improve your writing with our guides

How to Write a Scholarship Essay

Definition Essay: The Complete Guide with Essay Topics and Examples

Critical Essay: The Complete Guide. Essay Topics, Examples and Outlines

Critical Essay: The Complete Guide. Essay Topics, Examples and Outlines

Get 15% off your first order with edusson.

Connect with a professional writer within minutes by placing your first order. No matter the subject, difficulty, academic level or document type, our writers have the skills to complete it.

100% privacy. No spam ever.

rogerian argument essay sample

Logo for VIVA Open Publishing

Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.

26 The Rogerian Argument

Kirsten DeVries

The Rogerian argument, inspired by the influential psychologist Carl Rogers, aims to find compromise or common ground about an issue.  If, as stated in the beginning of the chapter, academic or rhetorical argument is not merely a two-sided debate that seeks a winner and a loser, the Rogerian argument model provides a structured way to move beyond the win-lose mindset.  Indeed, the Rogerian model can be employed to deal effectively with controversial arguments that have been reduced to two opposing points of view by forcing the writer to confront opposing ideas and then work towards a common understanding with those who might disagree.

Figure 3.9 “Carl Ransom Rogers”

Carl Ransom Rogers

The following are the basic parts of a Rogerian Argument:

1.  Introduction : Introduce the issue under scrutiny in a non-confrontational way.  Be sure to outline the main sides in the debate.  Though there are always more than two sides to a debate, Rogerian arguments put two in stark opposition to one another. Crucially, be sure to indicate the overall purpose of the essay: to come to a  compromise  about the issue at hand.  If this intent is not stated up front, the reader may be confused or even suspect manipulation on the part of the writer, i.e., that the writer is massaging the audience just to win a fight.  Be advised that the Rogerian essay uses an inductive reasoning structure, so  do not  include your thesis in your introduction.  You will build toward the thesis and then include it in your conclusion.  Once again, state the  intent  to compromise, but do not yet state what the compromise is.

2.  Side A :  Carefully map out the main claim and reasoning for the  opposing side  of the argument first.  The writer’s view should never really come first because that would defeat the purpose of what Rogers called  empathetic listening , which guides the overall approach to this type of argument.  By allowing the opposing argument to come first, you communicate to the reader that you are willing to respectfully consider another’s view on the issue.  Furthermore, you invite the reader to then give you the same respect and consideration when presenting your own view.  Finally, presenting the opposition first can help those readers who would side against you to ease into the essay, keeping them invested in the project.  If you present your own ideas first, you risk polarizing those readers from the start, which would then make them less amenable to considering a compromise by the end of the essay.   You can listen to Carl Rogers himself discuss the importance of empathy on  YouTube   (https://youtu.be/2dLsgpHw5x0, transcript  here ).

3.  Side B : Carefully go over  your side  of the argument.  When mapping out this side’s claim and support, be sure that it parallels that of Side A.  In other words, make sure not to raise entirely new categories of support, or there can be no way to come to a compromise.  Make sure to maintain a non-confrontational tone; for example, avoid appearing arrogant, sarcastic, or smug.

4.  The Bridge : A solid Rogerian argument acknowledges the desires of each side and tries to accommodate both. In this part, point out the ways in which you agree or can find  common ground  between the two sides.  There should be at least one point of agreement.  This can be an acknowledgement of the one part of the opposition’s agreement that you also support or an admittance to a shared set of values even if the two sides come to different ideas when employing those values.  This phase of the essay is crucial for two reasons: finding common ground (1) shows the audience the two views are not necessarily at complete odds, that they share more than they seem, and (2) sets up the compromise to come, making it easier to digest for all parties. Thus, this section  builds a bridge  from the two initial isolated and opposite views to a compromise that both sides can reasonably support.

5.  The Compromise :  Now is the time to finally announce your compromise, which is your thesis.  The compromise is what the essay has been building towards all along, so explain it carefully and demonstrate the logic of it. For example, if debating about whether to use racial profiling, a compromise might be based on both sides’ desire for a safer society.  That shared value can then lead to a new claim, one that disarms the original dispute or set of disputes.  For the racial profiling example, perhaps a better solution would focus on more objective measures than race that would then promote safety in a less problematic way.

Figure 3.10 “Rogerian Argument”

Rogerian Argument

Sample Writing Assignment 5

Find a controversial topic, and begin building a Rogerian argument.  Write up your responses to the following:

  • The topic or dilemma I will write about is…
  • My opposing audience is…
  • My audience’s view on the topic is…
  • My view on the topic is…
  • Our common ground–shared values or something that we both already agree on about the topic–is…
  • My compromise (the main claim or potential thesis) is…

Let's Get Writing! Copyright © 2018 by Kirsten DeVries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book

rogerian argument essay sample

Introduction

Background on the Course

CO300 as a University Core Course

Short Description of the Course

Course Objectives

General Overview

Alternative Approaches and Assignments

(Possible) Differences between COCC150 and CO300

What CO300 Students Are Like

And You Thought...

Beginning with Critical Reading

Opportunities for Innovation

Portfolio Grading as an Option

Teaching in the computer classroom

Finally. . .

Classroom materials

Audience awareness and rhetorical contexts

Critical thinking and reading

Focusing and narrowing topics

Mid-course, group, and supplemental evaluations

More detailed explanation of Rogerian argument and Toulmin analysis

Policy statements and syllabi

Portfolio explanations, checklists, and postscripts

Presenting evidence and organizing arguments/counter-arguments

Research and documentation

Writing assignment sheets

Assignments for portfolio 1

Assignments for portfolio 2

Assignments for portfolio 3

Workshopping and workshop sheets

On workshopping generally

Workshop sheets for portfolio 1

Workshop sheets for portfolio 2

Workshop sheets for portfolio 3

Workshop sheets for general purposes

Sample materials grouped by instructor

What is Rogerian Argument? (Kiefer)

Table of Contents

Collaboration, information literacy, writing process, rogerian argument.

  • © 2023 by Joseph M. Moxley - University of South Florida

Writing Commons, Rogerian Argument

Solving Problems by Negotiating Differences 

How many times have you been in an argument that you knew you couldn’t win? Are you reluctant to change your mind about certain social, political, or personal issues? Do you have an unshakable faith in a particular religion or philosophy? For example, are you absolutely certain that abortion is immoral under all circumstances? Are you categorically against animal experimentation for advancements in medicine? Do you believe that criminals who have tortured and killed people should receive the death penalty? Do you believe that parents should have no more than two children because of the world population problem? Do you believe it is your patriotic duty to buy solely American products?

Some of our beliefs and arguments are based on faith, some on emotion, and some on logic alone. We all hold different religious, p olitical, and personal beliefs that largely define who we are and how we think. Within the past fifty years, as the size of our global village has appeared to shrink with the use of television, fax, and jets, we have become increasingly more sophisticated and knowledgable. As a result, most educated people now realize that few significant issues have simple solutions. Thanks to modern scholarship and research, we have come to realize that our personalities and thoughts are shaped to some degree by cultural expectations. Philosophers have challenged us to recognize that our worlviews – our assumptions about reality, what is good, what is possible – are influenced by our day-to-day experiences. We have realized that truth is nt a fixed, static entity that can be carried into a battle like a banner.

One wonderful aspect of your college career is meeting different worldviews through books and through discussions with people whom you otherwise would not encounter. Indeed, many college campuses offer a wonderful glimpse of the diversity of modern-day life. A wide-eyed glance at students at the university center on my campus, for instance, will show you Chinese students working alongside students from Africa and South America. Young women dressed in their power suits mix freely with returning older adult students. Fraternity brothers rush from place to place, dressed in their blue blazers and short haircuts, while male musicians, dressed in the tie-dyed fashions of the 1960s and shoulder-length hair, play guitars and sing protest songs.

One result of our increasingly sophisticated world is that you cannot assume that your readers will believe or even understand everythinhg you say. On the contrary, you need to assume that your readers will doubt you. They will question the validity of your evidence and test the logic of your conclusions. Modern readers tend to be particularly contentious when you insist on assertions that they find objectionable. Because of this shift in audience attitude, writers need to develop compelling ways of organizing and presenting arguments.

When  you wish to address an emotional and controversial issue and when  your audience is likely to be threatened by  your ideas, you will probably not be successful if you make your claim in the introduction of your essay (or verbal argument). No matter how thoroughly you go on to support your ideas with careful reasoning and to refute other claims (such as those held by your audience) respectfully, your readers have already decided to ignore you. For example, can you imagine how your roomate would respond if you remark that he or she is a terrible slob? Even if you follow up your comment with photographs of the dirty dishes, cluttered rooms, and soild carpet left in his or her wake, can you imagine that the final outcome of your detailed presentation might be resolution? More likely you will face anger, bitterness, and denial. Watch your introductory prepositions!

Most of us tend to resist change and are threatened by ideas that challenge what we believe. Also, most of us dislike being told what to do and how to think, so even if our brains tell us to agree, our emotions (and egos) tell us to shut down and ignore what we are hearing. A male chauvinist who believes that women are intellectually inferior to men will be unlikely to listen to your argument that women are as intelligent as men. Your quotes from world-renowned educators and philosophers and your statistics from the Stanford-Blinet or SAT, GRE, and MCAT scores would probably be dismissed as inaccurate because they threaten his assumptions. Of course, you could hope that the chauvinist would change his mind over time when he wasn’t being pressed, yet you couldn’t bet on this outcome.

Because conflict is inevitable, we need to seek creative ways to solve complicated problems and to negotiate differences between opposing parties. Although there are no simple formulas for bringing opposing factions together, we do have a relatively new form of communication founded on Carl Rogers’s client-centered therapeutic approach to one-on-one and group counseling. Essentially, the Rogerian problem-solving approach reconceptualizes our goals when we argue. Instead of assuming that an author or speaker shoudl hope to overcome an antagonistic audience with shrewd reasoning, the Rogerian approach would have the author or speaker attempt to reach some common ground with the audience. Thus, in a very real way, Rogerian “persuasion” is not a form of persuasion so much as it is a way of opening communication for negotiating common ground between divergent points of view. In terms of writing, we coud say that the Rogerian approach melds the techniques of informative analyses with those of persuasive reports. Your goal when you employ the tactics of Rogerian problem-solving is not for you to win and for your opponent to lose, a scenario that more often results in both parties losing. Instead, you explore ways that will allow both you and your audience to win.

On Rogerian Argument

adapted from Rhetoric Matters: Language and Argument in Context by Megan McIntyre and Curtis Le Van

Rogerian argument is often difficult for students to understand because it asks them to think about controversial topics in a different way: from the perspective of someone they disagree with. The discussions that follow are meant to help  you understand the reason for and the components of an argument in Rogerian style.

On Finding Common Ground 

“On Finding Common Ground” is written by Jeffrey Spicer, University of South Florida

“ It is only through the clash of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.”

– John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

“The major barrier to mutual interpersonal communication is our very natural tendency to judge, to evaluate, to approve or disapprove, the statement of the other person or the other group.”

– Carl Rogers, “Communication: Its Blocking and Its Facilitation,” 1951

argue (v.) – from the Greek argos, lit. “white,” or arguron, lit. “silver,” and meaning “to shine forth”: in contemporary usage, to present reasons for or against.

In 1951, the psychologist Carl Rogers gave a talk at the Centennial Conference on Communications at Northwestern University that changed the way we think about argument. Psychology at that time was dominated by psychologists like B.F. Skinner, who were learning to scientifically condition thoughts and feelings in the same way that Pavlov had conditioned his dogs to salivate at the sound of their dinner bell a half-century before.

Rogers, on the other hand, was a humanist. He believed that human speech and human cognition were interrelated and that the success or failure of one was related to the success or failure of the other. In “Communication: Its Blocking and Its Facilitation,” he put forward as the cornerstone of his practice the belief that “the whole task of psychotherapy is the task of dealing with a failure in communication” (330).

According to Rogers, the principle difficulty preventing people from settling their differences, indeed from communicating effectively in an everyday sense, was that people couldn’t stop evaluating one another. The more important a topic was to them, the more emotional the participants in a discussion became, and the more they were apt to judge what the other person was saying rather than giving it the best hearing they could. In short, Rogers noticed that when people argue, they tend to make judgments about their opponents’ positions before they really understand them.

Rogers’s goal, then, was to avoid this tendency to constantly evaluate and instead to “listen with understanding.” By this, he meant that people should not only try to  understand that someone holds a particular viewpoint but also try to get a sense of what it’s like to believe that. “What does that mean? It means to see the expressed idea and attitude from the other person’s point of view, to sense how it feels to him, to achieve his frame of reference in regard to the thing he is talking about” (Rogers 331-32). Rogers himself acknowledged barriers to this kind of understanding. First and foremost, you have to be willing to try it, and not many people are. Rogers’s approach seems like you’re giving ground to your opponents and, what’s worse, sometimes you actually are. “In the first place, it takes courage […] you run the risk of being changed yourself” (Rogers 333).

It is important to note, though, that this sort of Rogerian understanding is also itself an argumentative tactic. First, people will almost always refuse to consider something if they feel threatened by it, and Rogerian understanding reduces the threat to the opposition. Second, people reciprocate; they tend to treat others as they are treated by them.

Despite the initial difficulties, then, each new understanding of the opponent’s view makes the next easier, while at the same time inviting, even obligating, the opponent to strive for a like understanding. “This procedure can dela with the insincerities, the defensive exaggerations, the lies, the ‘false fronts’ which characterize almost every failure in communication. These defensive distortions drop away with astonishing speed as people find that the only intent is to understand, not judge” (Rogers 336).

This Rogerian process started to make its way into textbooks in 1970. Richard E. Young, Alton L. Becker, and Kenneth L. Pike’s introduction of Rogerian psychology in their book Rhetoric: Discovery and Change seeks to simplify some of Rogers’s terminology and begin to present the process as a set of rhetorical objectives: “The writer who uses the Rogerian strategy attempts to do three things:

  • to convey to the reader that he is understood
  • to delineate the area within which he believes the reader’s position to be valid
  • to induce him to believe that he and the writer share certain moral qualities (275)

Put like this, in such a simple and reductive way, the process of attaining and expressing Rogerian understanding seems almost easy.

It is important to note that these are not developmental steps intended as heuristics, that indeed there are no sequential stages to a Rogerian argument. They are instead objectives to be pursued independently and recursively with the probably effect of facilitating communication. As Young, Becker, and Pike write, “Rogerian argument has no conventional structure; in fact, users of the strategy deliberately avoid conventional persuasive structures and techniques because these devices tend to produce a sense of threat.” This is not to say the argument has no structure, but rather that “the structure is more directly the product of a particular writer, a particular topic, and a particular audience” (275). The danger of argumentative form becoming an exclusionary force, silencing rather than evoking discussion, is therefore greatly reduced.

At this point, then, you may be wondering what Rogerian argument might actually look like in terms of an essay for a composition class. An essay modeled on Rogers’s approach should include a few particular parts:

  • a discussion of the problem from both points of view that uses value-neutral language
  • a discussion of the writer’s opponent’s point of view and a selection of facts or assertions the writer might be willing to concede to his opponent
  • a discussion of the writer’s point of view and a selection of facts or assertions the writer’s opponent might be able to accept about his point of view
  • a thesis that establishes a compromise between these two points of view and represents concessions from both the writer and his opponent

Analyzing Pertinent Conventions

Below are some of the strategies that you can use to negotiate consensus between opposing parties. As usual, you should not consider the following to be a rigid formula. Instead, pick and choose from these strategies in light of your audience, purpose, and intended voice.

Present the Problem

In the introduction, identify the issue and clarify its significance. Because you need to adopt a nonthreatening persona throughout your essay, however, avoid dogmatically presenting your view as the best or only way to solve the problem. Unlike your strategy for shaping a conventional persuasive text, at this point in your discussion you will not want to lay your cards on the table and summarize your presentation. Instead, explain the scope and complexity of the issue. You might want to mention the various approaches that people have taken to solve the problemandf perhaps even suggest that the issue is so complicated that the best you and your readers can hope for is consensus – or agreement on some aspect of the matter.

In your introduction and throughout your essay, you will want to explain the problem in ways that will make your audience say, “Yes, this author understands my position.” Because the people whom you are writing for may feel stress when you confront them with an emotionally charged issue and may already have made up their minds firmly on the subject, you should try to interest such reluctant readers by suggesting that you have an innovative way of viewing the problem. Of course, this tactic is effective only when you can indeed follow through and be as original as possible in your treatment of the subject. Otherwise, your readers may reject your ideas because they recognize that you have misrepresented yourself.

Challenge Yourself to Risk Change

Rather than masking your thoughts behind an “objective persona,” the Rogerian approach allows you to express your true feelings. However, if you are to meet the ideals of Rogerian communication, you need to challenge your own beliefs; you must be so open-minded that you truly entertain the possibility that your ideas are wrong, or at least not absolutely right. According to Rogers, you must “run the risk of being changed yourself. You … might find yourself influenced in your attitudes or your personality.”

Elaborate on the Value of Opposing Positions

In this part of your argument you will want to elaborate on which of your opponent’s claims about the problem are correct. For example, if your roommate’s messiness is driving you crazy but you still want to live with him or her, stress that cleanliness is not the be-all-and-end-all of human life. Commend your roommate for helping you focus on your studies and express appreciation for all of the times that he or she has pitched in to clean up. And, of course, you would also want to admit to a few annoying habits of your own, such as taking thirty-minute showers or talking on your cell phone late at night while your roommate is trying to sleep! After viewing the problem from your roommate’s perspective, you might even be willing to explore how your problem with compulsive neatness is itself a problem.

Show Instances When Your Assertions Are Valid

Once you have identified the problem in as nonthreatening a way as possible, established a fair-minded persona, and called for some level of consensus based on a “higher” interest, you have reached the most important stage in Rogerian negotiation: you can now present your position. At this point in your argument, you do not want to slap down a “But!” or “However!” and then come out of your corner punching. Remember the spirit of Rogerian problem solving: your ultimate goal is not to beat your audience, but to communicate with them and to promote a workable compromise. For example, in the sample argument with your roommate, rather than issuing an ultimatum such as “Unless you start picking up after yourself and doing your fair share of the housework, I’m moving out,” you could say, “I realize that you view housekeeping as a less important activity than I do, but I need to let you know that I find your messiness to be highly stressful, and I’m wondering what kind of compromise we can make so we can continue living together.” Yes, this statement carries an implied threat, but note how this sentence is framed positively and minimalizes the emotional intensity inherent in the situation.

To achieve the nonthreatening tone needed to diffuse emotional situations, avoid exaggerating your claims or using biased, emotional language. Also, avoid attacking your audience’s claims as exaggerated. Whenever you feel angry or defensive, take a deep breath and look for points in which you can agree with or understand your opponents. When you are really emotional about an issue, try to cool off enough to recognize where your language is loaded with explosive terms. To embrace the Rogerian approach, remember that you need to defuse your temper and set your pride and ego aside.

Present Your Claim in a Nonthreatening Way

Admittedly, it is difficult to substantiate an argument while acknowledging the value of competing positions. Yet if you have done an effective job in the early part of your essay, then your audience perceives you to be a reasonable person – someone worth listening to. Consequently, you should not sell yourself short when presenting your position.

Because of the emotionally charged context of your communication situation, you still need to maintain the same open-minded persona that you established in the introductory paragraphs. Although your main focus in this section is to develop the validity of your claim, you can maintain your fair-minded persona by recalling significant counterarguments and by elaborating on a few limitations of your claim. You can also remind your readers that you are not expecting them to accept your claim completely. Instead, you are merely attempting to show that under certain circumstances your position is valid.

Search for a Compromise and Call for a Higher Interest

Near the conclusion of your essay, you may find it useful to encourage your audience to seek a compromise with  you under a call for a “higher interest.”

Writing Assignments

The Rogerian method of problem solving is designed for exploring controversial interpersonal, social, and political problems. You can use these techniques to help  you begin or end a personal relationship or to help you effectively communicate with your professors, etc. Knowledge of the Rogerian method can help you deal with instances of sexual discrimination in the workplace or help you encourage insecure authorities to take the action that you want. You could use Rogerian approaches to encourage your classmates and other students at your school to be more sympatheticabout social problems such as poverty and ecological issues. To select a subject for a Rogerian analysis, try reviewing your journal and freewrite about significant interpersonal problems you have dealt with in  your life. Below are a few questions that may help you identify a subject:

  • Do I want to write about an interpersonal issue? For example, am I having trouble communicating with someone? Could the breakdown be linked to my failure to employ Rogerian strategies? Are there any major differences in belief that I could bridge by communicating with him or her in a Rogerian way?
  • Do I want to write about a social or political problem? Are there any on-campus or work-related problems that I wish to explore? For example, am I worried about an important national issue such as the federal deficit? Or could I promote harmony in a local or campus conflict?
  • Are there any sports-related topics that I could tackle? For example, do I want to convince skiers that short skis have carved up the mountain in an ugly way? Do I want to persuade tennis players that we need to throw away the wide-body power rackets and go back to the days of wooden rackets because power tennis is killing finesse tennis?
  • Consider playing the role of a marketing executive. Find a new product that you believe is superior to an established product and then write some advertising copy that explains why people should shirt their loyalty to the new product.

Prewriting and Drafting Strategies

Analyze Your Communication Situation

To help you get a handle on which claims you are willing to relinquish and which you wish to negotiate, write a profile of your anticipated audience. Because awareness of the opinions and fears of your audience is so crucial to successfully negotiating differences among competing positions, you need to try to “become” your audience. As usual, this process involves asking, “What do my readers believe and know about the subject? Why do they think and feel my position is wrong?” Ideally, this process extends beyond merely considering your audience’s needs to seting aside your thoughts and feelings and embracing the opposition’s notions about the subject.

After you have gotten “under the skin” of your audience, freewrite an essay about your subject from their perspective. Doing this in a Rogerian way means that you truly challenge your own beliefs and present your opponent’s viewpoints as strongly as you would your own. If you find yourself unwilling to explore the strengths of your opponent’s position, then you should select a new subject.

Write an Outline

After freewriting about your opponent’s positions as if they were your own, you will probably have excellent ideas about  how best to shape your essay. Youmay find it useful to jot down your objectives as suggested in the following outline. Remember, though, don’t let the outline control your thoughts. If insights occur while you are writing, experiment with them.

  • Explain the issue’s significance and scope
  • In what ways are the major assumptions of the opposing position valid?
  • In what ways are your assumptions invalid and valid?
  • What consensus can your establish?

Revising and Editing Strategies

By analyzing the strengths and weaknesses that your classmates and instructor have identified in past papers, you can know what special problems you shoud look for when evaluating your persuasive essay. As always, give yourself as much time as possible between drafts. Below I have listed some questions that highlight special concerns you will need to address when writing your Rogerian essay.

Is the Subject Appropriate for a Rogerian Approach?

A day or so after you have completed the first draft of your essay, reread it from the perspective of your intended audience. To conduct an honest self-evaluation, try to answer the following questions:

  • In the introduction, have I truly been open-minded? Have I thoroughly reviewed the strengths of my opponent’s counterarguments? Have I honestly challenged the weaknesses of my own position?
  • How could I change the essay to make it less emotionally charged?
  • Are the transitions from the opposing position to my position as smooth as possible?
  • When I present my claims, do I sound informed, intelligent, compassionate? What additional data would help my readers better understand my position? Do I need more facts and figures? Can I incorporate more outside quotations to substantiate my argument?
  • Have I successfully limited my analysis and elaborated on one specific, significant claim? Have I presented my position clearly and accurately?
  • Is the compromise I have suggested reasonable? Can I be more original in my call for a higher interest?

Read Your Work Aloud

Before submitting your essay to your peers or teacher, read it aloud to yourself several times. As you read, make a note of passages that seem difficult to read or sound awkward. Question whether the tone in the paragraphs is appropriate, given your audience and purpose. For example, can you find any passages that sound insincere or condescending?

Share Your Work with People Who Disagree with You

Ask people with different viewpoints from yours to critique your work. Let them know that you are attempting to seek a compromise between your position and theirs and that you welcome their suggestions.

Do a Criteria-Based Evaluation

In addition to making notes on criticisms of your text and ideas for improving it, you may find the following criteria-based format a useful way of identifying and correcting any weaknesses in your peers’ drafts or your own.

  • Rogerian Appeals
  • Author establishes an emphatic persona and avoid threatening challenges
  • Author clarifies instances in which opposing assertions are valid
  • Author show instances when assertions are valid
  • Author develops claim in as nonthreatening way as possible
  • Author seeks compromise and calls for an higher interest

(Low)          (Middle)          (High)

1 2 3             4 5 6             7 8 9 10

II. Substantive Revision

  • The document is reader-based
  • The tone is appropriate given the audience and purpose
  • The document is organized and formatted effectively
  • The paragraphs are coherent and cohesive

III. Edited Document

  • Unnecessary jargon and awkward abstractions have been edited
  • To be verbs have been eliminiated
  • A high verb-to-noun ration has been established
  • Strings of prepositions have been avoided
  • The document has been edited for economy
  • The document has been copyedited for grammatical, mechanical, and formatting errors

Evaluating Criticism

When your professor returns your Rogerian report to you, take a few moments to reflect on your growth as a writer. To help put your role as “apprentice” in perspective, you may find it useful to consider the following questions in your Writing and Research Notebook:

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer as a result of writing your Rogerian essay?
  • In what ways has your knowledge of Rogerian negotiation and problem solving influenced how you will make oral and written arguments in the future? When writing this report, did you find your original point of view softening?
  • Based on your peers’ and teacher’s responses to your work, what goals will you set for your next writing assignment?

Brevity - Say More with Less

Brevity - Say More with Less

Clarity (in Speech and Writing)

Clarity (in Speech and Writing)

Coherence - How to Achieve Coherence in Writing

Coherence - How to Achieve Coherence in Writing

Diction

Flow - How to Create Flow in Writing

Inclusivity - Inclusive Language

Inclusivity - Inclusive Language

Simplicity

The Elements of Style - The DNA of Powerful Writing

Unity

Suggested Edits

  • Please select the purpose of your message. * - Corrections, Typos, or Edits Technical Support/Problems using the site Advertising with Writing Commons Copyright Issues I am contacting you about something else
  • Your full name
  • Your email address *
  • Page URL needing edits *
  • Email This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Other Topics:

Citation - Definition - Introduction to Citation in Academic & Professional Writing

Citation - Definition - Introduction to Citation in Academic & Professional Writing

  • Joseph M. Moxley

Explore the different ways to cite sources in academic and professional writing, including in-text (Parenthetical), numerical, and note citations.

Collaboration - What is the Role of Collaboration in Academic & Professional Writing?

Collaboration - What is the Role of Collaboration in Academic & Professional Writing?

Collaboration refers to the act of working with others or AI to solve problems, coauthor texts, and develop products and services. Collaboration is a highly prized workplace competency in academic...

Genre

Genre may reference a type of writing, art, or musical composition; socially-agreed upon expectations about how writers and speakers should respond to particular rhetorical situations; the cultural values; the epistemological assumptions...

Grammar

Grammar refers to the rules that inform how people and discourse communities use language (e.g., written or spoken English, body language, or visual language) to communicate. Learn about the rhetorical...

Information Literacy - Discerning Quality Information from Noise

Information Literacy - Discerning Quality Information from Noise

Information Literacy refers to the competencies associated with locating, evaluating, using, and archiving information. In order to thrive, much less survive in a global information economy — an economy where information functions as a...

Mindset

Mindset refers to a person or community’s way of feeling, thinking, and acting about a topic. The mindsets you hold, consciously or subconsciously, shape how you feel, think, and act–and...

Rhetoric: Exploring Its Definition and Impact on Modern Communication

Rhetoric: Exploring Its Definition and Impact on Modern Communication

Learn about rhetoric and rhetorical practices (e.g., rhetorical analysis, rhetorical reasoning,  rhetorical situation, and rhetorical stance) so that you can strategically manage how you compose and subsequently produce a text...

Style

Style, most simply, refers to how you say something as opposed to what you say. The style of your writing matters because audiences are unlikely to read your work or...

The Writing Process - Research on Composing

The Writing Process - Research on Composing

The writing process refers to everything you do in order to complete a writing project. Over the last six decades, researchers have studied and theorized about how writers go about...

Writing Studies

Writing Studies

Writing studies refers to an interdisciplinary community of scholars and researchers who study writing. Writing studies also refers to an academic, interdisciplinary discipline – a subject of study. Students in...

Featured Articles

Student engrossed in reading on her laptop, surrounded by a stack of books

Academic Writing – How to Write for the Academic Community

rogerian argument essay sample

Professional Writing – How to Write for the Professional World

rogerian argument essay sample

Authority – How to Establish Credibility in Speech & Writing

Rhetorical Analysis

Rogerian argument.

Black and white line drawing of Carl Rogers. He is shown as an older man wearing glasses and an open-collared shirt

Carl Rogers

The Rogerian argument, inspired by the influential psychologist Carl Rogers, aims to find compromise on a controversial issue.

If you are using the Rogerian approach your introduction to the argument should accomplish three objectives:

  • Introduce the author and work Usually, you will introduce the author and work in the first sentence, as in this example: In Dwight Okita’s “In Response to Executive Order 9066,” the narrator addresses an inevitable by-product of war – racism. The first time you refer to the author, refer to him or her by his or her full name. After that, refer to the author by last name only. Never refer to an author by his or her first name only.
  • Provide the audience a short but concise summary of the work to which you are responding Remember, your audience has already read the work you are responding to. Therefore, you do not need to provide a lengthy summary. Focus on the main points of the work to which you are responding and use direct quotations sparingly. Direct quotations work best when they are powerful and compelling.
  • State the main issue addressed in the work   Your thesis, or claim, will come after you summarize the two sides of the issue.

The Introduction

The following is an example of how the introduction of a Rogerian argument can be written. The topic is racial profiling.

Once you have written your introduction, you must now show the two sides to the debate you are addressing. Though there are always more than two sides to a debate, Rogerian arguments put two in stark opposition to one another. Summarize each side, then provide a middle path. Your summary of the two sides will be your first two body paragraphs. Use quotations from outside sources to effectively illustrate the position of each side.

An outline for a Rogerian argument might look like this:

  • Introduction

Since the goal of Rogerian argument is to find a common ground between two opposing positions, you must identify the shared beliefs or assumptions of each side. In the example above, both sides of the racial profiling issue want the U.S. A solid Rogerian argument acknowledges the desires of each side, and tries to accommodate both. Again, using the racial profiling example above, both sides desire a safer society, perhaps a better solution would focus on more objective measures than race; an effective start would be to use more screening technology on public transportation. Once you have a claim that disarms the central dispute, you should support the claim with evidence, and quotations when appropriate.

Quoting Effectively

Remember, you should quote to illustrate a point you are making. You should not, however, quote to simply take up space. Make sure all quotations are compelling and intriguing: Consider the following example. In “The Danger of Political Correctness,” author Richard Stein asserts that, “the desire to not offend has now become more important than protecting national security” (52). This statement sums up the beliefs of those in favor of profiling in public places.

The Conclusion

Your conclusion should:

  • Bring the essay back to what is discussed in the introduction
  • Tie up loose ends
  • End on a thought-provoking note

The following is a sample conclusion:

Taken from Michael Franco’s PowerPoint Presentation Writing Essay 4: Rogerian Argument

  • Rogerian Argument. Provided by : Utah State University. Located at : http://ocw.usu.edu/English/introduction-to-writing-academic-prose/rogerian-argument.html . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Image of Carl Rogers. Authored by : Didius. Provided by : Wikimedia. Located at : http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carl_Ransom_Rogers.jpg . License : CC BY: Attribution

rogerian argument essay sample

English Composition II - ENGL 1213

  • Choosing An Issue
  • Find eBooks
  • Find Articles
  • Search Tips
  • Write It, Cite It
  • Ask a Librarian
  • The Research Proposal
  • The Annotated Bibliography
  • Essay 1 - The Classical Argument

Requirements

Method of organization, writing prompt.

  • Essay 3 - The Toulmin Essay Argument

The purpose of Essay 2 is to construct a Rogerian Argument.  Students will use research skills and rhetorical analysis to investigate conflicting viewpoints on an issue with state or national impact.  By addressing conflicting viewpoints fairly, accurately, and empathetically, the result of a Rogerian Argument is a compromise-based solution that reduces the conflict and resolves at least pare of the issue.  Rogerian argument skills can be used in academic writing, interpersonal communications, and professional environments.

The essay should include the folllowing:

  • 3 to 4 pages (double-spaced), not including the Works Cited page
  • In-text citations in the body of the essay
  • Works Cited page with your credible sources
  • A minimum of 4 sources

To complete this assignment, you should:

  • Utilize invention techniques : Before writing the essay, begin identifying your issue through a series of invention techniques, including but not limited to the following: brainstorming, listing, clustering, questioning, and conducting preliminary research.  
  • Plan and organize your essay : After the invention process, it is important to begin planning the organizational pattern for the essay.  Planning includes identifying your thesis, establishing main ideas (or topic sentences) for each paragraph, supporting each paragraph with appropriate evidence, and creating ideas for the introductory and concluding paragraphs. 
  • Draft and revise your essay : Once you have completed the planning process, write a rough draft of your essay.  Next, take steps to improve, polish, and revise your draft before turning it in for a final grade.  The revision process includes developing ideas, ensuring the thesis statement connects to the main ideas of each paragraph, taking account of your evidence and supporting details, checking for proper use of MLA citation style, reviewing source integration, avoiding plagiarism, and proofreading for formatting and grammatical errors.
  • Submit a polished, academic level essay.
  • An introduction paragraph that provides history and context for the issue and provides an overview of the controversy surrounding it.
  • A body paragraph that accurately and objectively explains the viewpoint of Side A.
  • A body paragraph that empathetically validates strong aspects of the viewpoint of Side A.
  • A body paragraph that accurately and objectively explains the viewpoint of Side B.
  • A body paragraph that empathetically validates strong aspects of the viewpoint of Side B.
  • One or more body paragraphs to achieve the following: concede the imperfection of Side B; identify aspect(s) of Side B that benefit both sides; propose a productive and feasible compromise based on common goals or values.
  • A conclusion paragraph that concisely reviews the strongest points of both sides, identifies common goals and/or values, and reminds both sides that the proposed compromise satisfies at least part of the common goal.

Use the same topic you wrote about for your Classical Argument Essay.  With an objective mindset, your assignment is to consider the goals and values of at least two viewpoints on the topic by conducting further research.  Your research should focus on the state- or national-level impact of the issue.  This activity will help you develop a holistic understanding of the issue and the source of the conflict between viewpoints.  Your goal in the essay is to objectively describe multiple viewpoints on the topic, then to present a feasible solution of compromise that helps to reduce the conflict and moves towards a resolution of the issue. 

  • << Previous: Essay 1 - The Classical Argument
  • Next: Essay 3 - The Toulmin Essay Argument >>
  • Last Updated: Feb 6, 2024 3:18 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.occc.edu/comp2

Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.

IV. Types of Argumentation

4.5 Rogerian Argument

Terri Pantuso

As discussed in the previous section, for Toulmin, argumentation is an attempt to justify a statement or a set of statements and focuses solely upon proving those statements. But what happens when you can concede that your opponent has a valid point? Because we are complex creatures, humans oftentimes find themselves strongly opposed to something that later changes for them once they are presented with different evidence. While many arguments can seemingly be based upon emotions alone, when presented with logical evidence to refute our position we may experience a crisis of conscience. Is it possible to hold firmly to one belief yet concede that the opposing side has merit? There is a way if you utilize the Rogerian method for argumentation.

Carl Rogers (1902-1987) was an American psychologist and clinical therapist who utilized a humanistic (client-centered) approach to psychology. When applied to argumentation, the Rogerian method makes use of examining counterarguments as enhancements, or concessions, rather than viewing them as completely oppositional. According to Lunsford et al., “Rogers argued that people involved in disputes should not respond to each other until they [can] fully, fairly, and even sympathetically state the other person’s position.” [1] Rogers’ non confrontational methods, when applied to argumentation in rhetoric, suggests that the most personal feelings are also the most common and, therefore, are the most likely to be understood.

One benefit to utilizing a Rogerian approach in composition studies is that it encourages the writer/arguer to build a bridge towards oppositional positions. This does not mean that you abandon your own position, and it does not mean that your position is weak. Rather, a Rogerian approach provides alternative perspectives for considering a given position as well as methods for responding to counterarguments that might seem to refute your major premise .

Much like the Toulmin method, the Rogerian method relies upon claims that can be supported with evidence (data). How the Rogerian method differs is in the concession where, if there is a strong, valid argument that refutes your claim, you concede that argument might be a valid point in a different context. Or, perhaps you concede that a portion of your opponent’s argument is valid for your position, yet point out how the circumstances differ, therefore making your position the most logical, strongest one for your given topic. While the goal remains to persuade your reader/audience to view your position as valid, when utilizing the Rogerian method you build common ground to other possibilities and demonstrate that counterviews are not entirely wrong.

When used in argumentation, the Rogerian method allows for a dialogue to occur surrounding an issue. By examining counterarguments to your claims, you are able to view your position/ thesis from a different point of view. Understanding all (or most) of the points surrounding your given topic will strengthen your own position as you will create a more fully informed essay.

  • Andrea Lunsford, John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters, Everything’s an Argument, 8th ed. (Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018), 139. ↵

A human-centered approach or perspective to an issue.

The basic assumptions or understanding on which an argument is based or from which conclusions are drawn. A major premise is a statement of universal truth or common knowledge. A minor premise is a statement related to a major premise but concerns a specific situation.

A statement, usually one sentence, that summarizes an argument that will later be explained, expanded upon, and developed in a longer essay or research paper. In undergraduate writing, a thesis statement is often found in the introductory paragraph of an essay. The plural of thesis is theses .

4.5 Rogerian Argument Copyright © 2022 by Terri Pantuso is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Harris County Public Library

  • Lone Star College-CyFair

  LSC-CyFair Library (building #3) is open with limited capacity and services.

Banner Image

  • LSC-CyFair Library Guides

ENGL 1302 Oberle

  • ROGERIAN ARGUMENTS
  • TOULMIN ARGUMENTS
  • Start with background information
  • Scholarly vs popular sources
  • Finding scholarly and popular sources in library databases
  • APA STYLE This link opens in a new window
  • CONTACT THE LIBRARY
  • Events & Programs
  • Services & Resources
  • Your Rogerian Assignment
  • Researching the Rogerian Assignment
  • Understanding Rogerian Argument

Research-Based Rogerian Argument Assignment: 

For paper #4, you will be writing a grammatically correct, clearly organized essay that uses Rogerian Argument to explore and then state a position on a controversial social, ethical, intellectual, or historical issue. As a writer, your reason for creating this paper is to persuade your readers to compromise and/or change their position so that they agree (at least in some ways) with your position.

In following Rogerian Argument, your paper, in the following order, should:

Introduction.

  • Begin with an introduction that establishes why your topic is important historically, ethically, socially, or intellectually (in other words, establish why a reader should be interested in your topic and how this topic affects people in general, no matter what their particular opinions on the topic might be). At this point in the paper, you are not yet stating your own opinion on the topic; you are simply explaining why the topic is an important one.

Body Paragraphs

2. In one or more paragraphs, explore and discuss the beliefs and ideas related to the most important opposing point of view to your own opinion. In other words, explain the most significant reason why some people disagree with your point of view. Remember that, in this portion of the paper, you are not disproving or disagreeing with the opposing point of view. You are also not yet stating your own opinion. Instead, you are simply explaining, in a fair and non-biased manner, what the opposing point of view believes.

3. In one or more paragraphs, explain what might be valid about the opposing point of view’s beliefs. Explain, for example, under what circumstances the opposing point of view makes the most sense. Again, remember that, in this portion of the paper, you are not disproving or disagreeing with the opposing point of view. You are also not yet stating your own opinion. Instead, you are simply explaining, in a fair and non-biased manner, under what conditions the opposing point of view has the most valid and useful beliefs.

4. In one or more paragraphs, state your own opinion on the issue, explaining what your position shares in common, in terms of values and goals, with the opposing point of view. Remember that, instead of arguing that your opinion is better or more correct than the opposing point of view, you are seeking to establish common ground. Demonstrating understanding of the opposing point of view, you are seeking to explain the values and goals that both points of view (yours and the opposition’s) share.

5. In one or more paragraphs, explain under what conditions your own point of view makes the most sense. This is where your essay’s thesis will become more apparent; at this point, you should state your opinion on the issue being discussed. You should also state and fully explain the reasons that support this opinion

6. In one or more paragraphs, offer a compromise with the opposing point of view. If your beliefs and the beliefs of the opposing point of view can be reconciled in some way, or if you can offer a fair compromise or an alternative between your beliefs and the beliefs of the opposition, then you should explain this resolution, focusing on why this resolution will be mutually beneficial for both sides. If absolutely no reconciliation, compromise, or alternative is possible, then you should fairly and respectfully explain why the best solution is for the opposition to accept your point of view.  

7. In the concluding paragraph, state your thesis, not only expressing your opinion and summarizing the reasons that support this opinion but also reiterating how the opposing point of view will benefit from compromising with (or agreeing with at least portions of) your position. As you close the paper, leave readers with a reason to care about the issue you have just discussed.

The Research-Based Rogerian Argument Essay requires you to use a minimum of six sources:

Your research paper should:

Follow APA guidelines for format (see LSH pages 200-03 for an explanation of APA format, and see LSH pages 204-07 for a sample paper formatted according to APA guidelines--you need to follow the margins, spacing, page numbering, running head, and titling shown on these pages, and you do not need to include an abstract or headings)

Cite from at least six research sources

At least five of these sources must be scholarly (such as journal articles, books, or government documents)

No more than one of these sources may be popular (such as newspaper or magazine articles)

None of these sources may be an Internet site, and

These sources should come from the library or from the library’s online research databases , not from Internet search engines like Google.

Follow APA guidelines for in-text citations (see LSH page 170 and pages 173-78)

Include an APA-style list of references (see LSH pages 171-72 and pages 179-200)

Use the library's online research databases to find all your sources, scholarly and popular. 

  • CyFair Library Databases This page organizes all of our databases. Try some of the most popular at the top of the page, or scroll down and open a menu to explore databases in that subject area.

For help using the research databases, start on the Finding Research Sources page in this guide: 

Cflibguides.lonestar.edu/engl1302/oberle/research, you can also browse the database help videos we post to the student research help section of our youtube channel: , cyflib.info/youtube, if you have questions or trouble using the databases, contact the library or email bronwyn at bronwyn.sutherland @lonestar.edu . , try some of these resources to better understand rogerian arguments: .

  • What is Rogerian Argument? YouTube video (2:13) Quick, low-tech, casual video with a great explanation of Rogerian argument. From the University of South Florida.
  • Rogerian Argument: Excelsior OWL Excelsior College's guide to Rogerian Argument.
  • 10 Steps to Writing a Rogerian Argument Infographic: Excelsior OWL Prefer visuals instead of a wall of text? Try Excelsior OWL's "10 Steps to Writing a Rogerian Argument" infographic.
  • Sample Rogerian Argument Paper A sample Rogerian Argument paper, annotated with helpful hints to writing one. Note that this paper is written in APA 7th edition, and you are using APA 6th for Prof. Oberle.
  • Rogerian Argument: Purdue OWL Purdue OWL's guide to Rogerian Argument.
  • << Previous: TOULMIN ARGUMENTS
  • Next: FINDING RESEARCH SOURCES >>
  • Last Updated: Mar 10, 2023 8:08 AM
  • URL: https://cflibguides.lonestar.edu/engl1302/oberle

  LSC-CyFair Library (building #3) is open with limited capacity and services.

Lone Star College-CyFair Branch

9191 Barker Cypress Road

Cypress, TX 77433

  • Option 1: Hours & Address
  • Option 2: Circulation
  • Option 3: Kids Corner
  • Option 4: Adult Services
  • Option 5: Student/Faculty Services

Text 832.463.0478

Email [email protected]

Chat Online: cflib.info/chat

One-to-One Consultation Schedule  a video/phone meeting with a Librarian.

Library Hours

LSC-CyFair Weekly/Monthly Hours

LSC-CyFair Holiday Hours

hcpl lsc logos

Banner

English (EN) - Composition: Rogerian Essay

  • English Composition Home
  • EN101 Information Literacy Toolkit
  • EN102 Information Cycle
  • EN Course Handouts & Activities
  • EN Careers & Education
  • Citing Sources This link opens in a new window
  • Librarian Evaluation This link opens in a new window

What is a Rogerian Essay?

Some English instructors will assign a Rogerian Essay for class. A Rogerian Essay explores both sides of an issue and suggests a compromise, synthesis or solution. It's sometimes referred to as a "common ground" argument paper.

A Rogerian Essay outline may look like this*:

  • Introduce the problem and show why you and your intended audience are affected by the problem.
  • Lay down the common beliefs, ideas and arguments between you and your listeners (if you are speaking) or readers (if you are writing a position paper).
  • Reveal the position that you are holding without saying that your position is better than the opposing belief.
  • Show instances where and when your position is valid and how your position differs from the opposing belief.
  • State your thesis .

*from the Tips for Essays and Research Papers website

Rogerian Essay Example and Topic Ideas

  • Sample of a Rogerian Essay
  • List of topics for the Rogerian Essay

Rogerian Essay Research

  • Opposing Viewpoints in Context This link opens in a new window Opposing Viewpoints in Context is an online resource covering social issues. This cross-curricular research tool supports science, social studies, current events, and language arts classes.
  • Points of View Reference Center This link opens in a new window This is a great database to help you understand the pro's and con's of different debatable topics. It's also a handy place to see a list of really interesting topics if you need paper topic ideas and don't know where to start.
  • Research Library This link opens in a new window ProQuest Research Library provides access to a wide range of popular academic subjects from business and political science to literature and psychology. The database includes more than 4,070 titles, nearly 2,800 in full text, from 1971 forward. It includes a diversified mix of scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines, and newspapers.

Video Explanation of Rogerian Argument

  • Last Updated: Feb 5, 2024 11:12 AM
  • URL: https://subjectguides.grcc.edu/englishcomposition

Logo for Idaho Pressbooks Consortium

Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.

61 Rogerian Argument Model

Rogerian argument.

The Rogerian argument, inspired by the influential psychologist Carl Rogers, aims to find compromise or common ground about an issue.  If, as stated in the beginning of the chapter, academic or rhetorical argument is not merely a two-sided debate that seeks a winner and a loser, the Rogerian argument model provides a structured way to move beyond the win-lose mindset.  Indeed, the Rogerian model can be employed to deal effectively with controversial arguments that have been reduced to two opposing points of view by forcing the writer to confront opposing ideas and then work towards a common understanding with those who might disagree.

Carl Ransom Rogers

The following are the basic parts of a Rogerian Argument:

1.  Introduction : Introduce the issue under scrutiny in a non-confrontational way.  Be sure to outline the main sides in the debate.  Though there are always more than two sides to a debate, Rogerian arguments put two in stark opposition to one another. Crucially, be sure to indicate the overall purpose of the essay: to come to a  compromise  about the issue at hand.  If this intent is not stated up front, the reader may be confused or even suspect manipulation on the part of the writer, i.e., that the writer is massaging the audience just to win a fight.  Be advised that the Rogerian essay uses an inductive reasoning structure, so  do not  include your thesis in your introduction.  You will build toward the thesis and then include it in your conclusion.  Once again, state the  intent  to compromise, but do not yet state what the compromise is.

2.  Side A :  Carefully map out the main claim and reasoning for the  opposing side  of the argument first.  The writer’s view should never really come first because that would defeat the purpose of what Rogers called  empathetic listening , which guides the overall approach to this type of argument.  By allowing the opposing argument to come first, you communicate to the reader that you are willing to respectfully consider another’s view on the issue.  Furthermore, you invite the reader to then give you the same respect and consideration when presenting your own view.  Finally, presenting the opposition first can help those readers who would side against you to ease into the essay, keeping them invested in the project.  If you present your own ideas first, you risk polarizing those readers from the start, which would then make them less amenable to considering a compromise by the end of the essay.   You can listen to Carl Rogers himself discuss the importance of empathy on  YouTube   (https://youtu.be/2dLsgpHw5x0, transcript  here ).

3.  Side B : Carefully go over  your side  of the argument.  When mapping out this side’s claim and support, be sure that it parallels that of Side A.  In other words, make sure not to raise entirely new categories of support, or there can be no way to come to a compromise.  Make sure to maintain a non-confrontational tone; for example, avoid appearing arrogant, sarcastic, or smug.

4.  The Bridge : A solid Rogerian argument acknowledges the desires of each side and tries to accommodate both. In this part, point out the ways in which you agree or can find  common ground  between the two sides.  There should be at least one point of agreement.  This can be an acknowledgement of the one part of the opposition’s agreement that you also support or an admittance to a shared set of values even if the two sides come to different ideas when employing those values.  This phase of the essay is crucial for two reasons: finding common ground (1) shows the audience the two views are not necessarily at complete odds, that they share more than they seem, and (2) sets up the compromise to come, making it easier to digest for all parties. Thus, this section  builds a bridge  from the two initial isolated and opposite views to a compromise that both sides can reasonably support.

5.  The Compromise :  Now is the time to finally announce your compromise, which is your thesis.  The compromise is what the essay has been building towards all along, so explain it carefully and demonstrate the logic of it. For example, if debating about whether to use racial profiling, a compromise might be based on both sides’ desire for a safer society.  That shared value can then lead to a new claim, one that disarms the original dispute or set of disputes.  For the racial profiling example, perhaps a better solution would focus on more objective measures than race that would then promote safety in a less problematic way.

Rogerian Argument

Rogerian Execise

Find a controversial topic, and begin building a Rogerian argument.  Write up your responses to the following:

  • The topic or dilemma I will write about is…
  • My opposing audience is…
  • My audience’s view on the topic is…
  • My view on the topic is…
  • Our common ground–shared values or something that we both already agree on about the topic–is…
  • My compromise (the main claim or potential thesis) is…

Write What Matters Copyright © 2020 by Liza Long; Amy Minervini; and Joel Gladd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book

Excelsior OWL

an Excelsior University site

Rogerian Argument

Carl Rogers

Based on the work of psychologist Carl Rogers  (pictured on the right), a Rogerian argument focuses on finding a middle ground between the author and the audience. This type of argument can be extremely persuasive and can help you, as a writer, understand your own biases and how you might work to find common ground with others.

Here is a summary of the basic strategy for a Rogerian argument, and the infographic on the following page should be helpful as well.

  • In your essay, first, introduce the problem .
  • Acknowledge the other side before you present your side of the issue. This may take several paragraphs.
  • Next, you should carefully present your side of the issue in a way that does not dismiss the other side. This may also take several paragraphs.
  • You should then work to bring the two sides together . Help your audience see the benefits of the middle ground. Make your proposal for the middle ground here, and be sure to use an even, respectful tone. This should be a key focus of your essay and may take several paragraphs.
  • Finally, in your conclusion, remind your audience of the balanced perspective you have presented and make it clear how both sides benefit when they meet in the middle.

For a visual representation of this type of argument, check out the Rogerian infographic on the next page.

Write  |  Read  |  Educators

Grumble... Applaud... Please give us your feedback!

rogerian argument essay sample

  • Argument & Critical Thinking »
  • Organizing Your Argument »
  • Rogerian Argument »

Library homepage

  • school Campus Bookshelves
  • menu_book Bookshelves
  • perm_media Learning Objects
  • login Login
  • how_to_reg Request Instructor Account
  • hub Instructor Commons
  • Download Page (PDF)
  • Download Full Book (PDF)
  • Periodic Table
  • Physics Constants
  • Scientific Calculator
  • Reference & Cite
  • Tools expand_more
  • Readability

selected template will load here

This action is not available.

Humanities LibreTexts

7.3: Rogerian Argument

  • Last updated
  • Save as PDF
  • Page ID 22543

The Rogerian argument, inspired by the influential psychologist Carl Rogers, aims to find compromise on a controversial issue.

If you are using the Rogerian approach your introduction to the argument should accomplish three objectives:

1. Introduce the author and work Usually, you will introduce the author and work in the first sentence:

Here is an example:

In Dwight Okita’s “In Response to Executive Order 9066,” the narrator addresses an inevitable by-product of war – racism.

The first time you refer to the author, refer to him or her by his or her full name. After that, refer to the author by last name only. Never refer to an author by his or her first name only.

2. Provide the audience a short but concise summary of the work to which you are responding Remember, your audience has already read the work you are responding to. Therefore, you do not need to provide a lengthy summary. Focus on the main points of the work to which you are responding and use direct quotations sparingly. Direct quotations work best when they are powerful and compelling.

3. State the main issue addressed in the work Your thesis, or claim, will come after you summarize the two sides of the issue.

The Introduction

The following is an example of how the introduction of a Rogerian argument can be written. The topic is racial profiling.

In Dwight Okita’s “In Response to Executive Order 9066,” the narrator — a young Japanese-American — writes a letter to the government, who has ordered her family into a relocation camp after Pearl Harbor. In the letter, the narrator details the people in her life, from her father to her best friend at school. Since the narrator is of Japanese descent, her best friend accuses her of “trying to start a war” (18). The narrator is seemingly too naïve to realize the ignorance of this statement, and tells the government that she asked this friend to plant tomato seeds in her honor. Though Okita’s poem deals specifically with World War II, the issue of race relations during wartime is still relevant. Recently, with the outbreaks of terrorism in the United States, Spain, and England, many are calling for racial profiling to stifle terrorism. The issue has sparked debate, with one side calling it racism and the other calling it common sense.

Once you have written your introduction, you must now show the two sides to the debate you are addressing. Though there are always more than two sides to a debate, Rogerian arguments put two in stark opposition to one another. Summarize each side, then provide a middle path. Your summary of the two sides will be your first two body paragraphs. Use quotations from outside sources to effectively illustrate the position of each side.

An outline for a Rogerian argument might look like this:

  • Introduction

Since the goal of Rogerian argument is to find a common ground between two opposing positions, you must identify the shared beliefs or assumptions of each side. In the example above, both sides of the racial profiling issue want the U.S. A solid Rogerian argument acknowledges the desires of each side, and tries to accommodate both. Again, using the racial profiling example above, both sides desire a safer society, perhaps a better solution would focus on more objective measures than race; an effective start would be to use more screening technology on public transportation. Once you have a claim that disarms the central dispute, you should support the claim with evidence, and quotations when appropriate.

Quoting Effectively

Remember, you should quote to illustrate a point you are making. You should not, however, quote to simply take up space. Make sure all quotations are compelling and intriguing: Consider the following example. In “The Danger of Political Correctness,” author Richard Stein asserts that, “the desire to not offend has now become more important than protecting national security” (52). This statement sums up the beliefs of those in favor of profiling in public places.

The Conclusion

Your conclusion should:

  • Bring the essay back to what is discussed in the introduction
  • Tie up loose ends
  • End on a thought-provoking note

The following is a sample conclusion:

Though the debate over racial profiling is sure to continue, each side desires to make the United States a safer place. With that goal in mind, our society deserves better security measures than merely searching a person who appears a bit dark. We cannot waste time with such subjective matters, especially when we have technology that could more effectively locate potential terrorists. Sure, installing metal detectors and cameras on public transportation is costly, but feeling safe in public is priceless.

Permission granted from Michael Franco at Writing Essay 4: Rogerian Argument

Below you will find two examples of Rogerian arguments written by students. Neither is perfect, but both earned an "S" grade. As you read through them, look for common ground, the statement of the opponent's position, and where the POP comes. See if you can find compromise or solutions that embrace both sides.

The papers are by Snow Boarder and Betsy Ross (pseudonyms chosen by the original writers).

banner

  • Library Catalog
  • Research Databases
  • LSC-University Park Library
  • FAQ & Knowledgebase

Rhetorical Argument

Introduction.

  • Stasis Theory
  • Rhetorical Appeals (Ethos, Pathos, Logos)
  • Logical Fallacies
  • Critique & Evaluation
  • Argument Analysis
  • Visual Argument
  • Toulmin Argument
  • Rogerian Argument

We tend to think of arguments as being black and white: either I'm right and you're wrong, or you're right and I'm wrong. 

Sometimes, however, arguments can be about finding the middle ground. The Rogerian method of argumentation is exactly that. Rather than proving one side is right and the other is wrong, it looks at both sides to see the common ground and reach agreement. A Rogerian argument sounds like a bit of a misnomer - think of it like a negotiation. Sometimes you have to give a little in order to get a little. 

Identifying the common ground between opposing sides can sometimes require a lot of analysis into each side. You cannot make a Rogerian argument without thoroughly understanding both sides of the debate. 

Rogerian arguments also have a very particular format that is followed. 

These types of arguments are useful in situations where both sides of the debate are extremely divisive or hostile to each other.

A Rogerian argument is a type of argument in which the author identifies the goals and issues of different sides of a topic, then attempts to identify commonalities which can be used to help both sides reach an agreement. 

The format of a Rogerian argument is also very particular, following these steps:

  • The writer presents a problem. At this point, the writer should not put their own opinion into the equation.
  • The writer talks about the opposing group's point of view regarding the problem. It is important to note here that the writer is not attempting to prove this side wrong; instead, the writer is making an earnest and sincere effort to understand where the other side is coming from.
  • Then the writer talks about their position on the problem. Again, this is not an attempt to prove the other side wrong, or rebut the other side's arguments, but simply showing where they're coming from.
  • Finally, the fourth step is the closing. The writer here can provide alternative solutions, compromises, or even showing the middle ground and looking for a way to go forward without animosity. 

Argument papers tend to want to prove or disprove a point, but Rogerian arguments are a bit different. Instead of proving the other side wrong, there is a sincere effort to understand where both sides are coming from and attempt to see how they can work together to find a good solution for both.

It is critical in a Rogerian argument to use neutral language and respect the other side's position and portray it accurately (See also, Logical Fallacies: Strawman). 

Writing a Rogerian argument requires careful analysis, critique, and evaluation of two sides of a debate in order to thoroughly understand the goals and issues of each side. If you are writing a Rogerian argument that is intended to bring two sides together, with you as a sort of neutral party, you must be able to treat both sides with respect and attempt to find commonalities between them.

You can also use a Rogerian argument between yourself (the author of a paper) and your reader. You can assume that your reader believes that cats are better than dogs, and you personally believe that dogs are better than cats. Rather than starting off an argument paper with, "You're wrong, and here's why" - which will likely alienate your reader! - you can start off with the common ground: "We both like animals! It's just a matter of personality. Dogs are better for some people because...". 

Starting with what you have in common, rather than why the other side is wrong, can help you to persuade your reader to accept your side of the argument.

Finding the common ground isn't always easy; some issues seem very much diametrically opposed to one another. 

Let's take homeschooling. 

SIDE A : Homeschooling is better because it allows parents more control over their children's education and allows for more creativity and individualized learning. 

SIDE B : Traditional schooling is better because it provides a chance for socialization with other children, has stricter standards for evaluation, and provides more structure for learning.

On the surface, these two things are totally opposed to one another. One side thinks that creativity is better and the other thinks structure is better, so how do we find a common ground?

Sometimes it takes thinking outside of the box. In this case, you may argue that both sides value education and want what's best for their children, they just have different ways of doing that. 

The full format of an argument may be:

1. Protecting the environment is important to making sure that we all have adequate resources in the future. If the environment is harmed irrevocably, it puts future generations in danger. (State the problem and how it affects both sides)

2. It is understandable that many people believe that environmental protections may cause them to lose their jobs or harm their way of living. (Acknowledge the other side)

3. Others believe that environmental protections are more important and should be strictly legislated. (State the position of your side)

4. By instituting higher standards for fuel emissions, people can still enjoy their way of living while employing some environmental protections (Find the common ground/Alternate solution)

  • Organizing Your Argument A thorough discussion of the Rogerian argument, with infographic and sample paper with commentary on the structure
  • Rogerian Argument A brief, but clear explanation of the objectives of a Rogerian argument
  • << Previous: Toulmin Argument
  • Last Updated: Sep 19, 2023 4:02 PM
  • URL: https://upresearch.lonestar.edu/rhetoric

Lone Star College-University Park • Student Learning Resource Center 20515 SH 249 • Building 12, 8th Floor • Houston, TX 77070

Creative Commons License

IMAGES

  1. 006 Rogerian Argument Essay Example ~ Thatsnotus

    rogerian argument essay sample

  2. THE Rogerian Argument

    rogerian argument essay sample

  3. How to Write a Rogerian Essay: Learn to Write the Best Material and Get

    rogerian argument essay sample

  4. Rogerian Argument Essay: Guide with 11 Steps

    rogerian argument essay sample

  5. Intro to Argument/Rogerian Argument

    rogerian argument essay sample

  6. 018 Essay Example Rogerian Argument Persuasive Outline Doc Of Paper

    rogerian argument essay sample

VIDEO

  1. Rogerian Argument Discussion Post Example

  2. Rogerian Argument and Essay 3 for CSU

  3. Rogerian Video J Smith

  4. Rogerian Argument Working Thesis and Preliminary Works Cited

  5. A Rogerian Argue Example

  6. 2. Lost and The Rogerian Counsellor

COMMENTS

  1. Sample Rogerian Argument

    an Excelsior University site Argument & Critical Thinking » Organizing Your Argument » Sample Rogerian Argument Sample Rogerian Argument Now that you have had the chance to learn about Rogerian arguments, it's time to see what a Rogerian argument might look like.

  2. Rogerian Argument

    A successful Rogerian argument will likely include the following: Introduction (addressing the topic to be discussed and/or the problem to be solved) Opposing position (showing that you understand your opposition's viewpoints/goals) Context for opposing position (showing that you understand the situations in which their viewpoint is valid)

  3. Rogerian Argument: Definition and Examples

    Richard Nordquist Updated on October 01, 2019 Rogerian argument is a negotiating strategy in which common goals are identified and opposing views are described as objectively as possible in an effort to establish common ground and reach an agreement.

  4. The Rogerian Argument Essay: A Practical Guide to Effective Persuasion

    Samples Tips Topics People have studied and practiced the art of persuasion for centuries. As a result, they have developed various methods of conventional persuasive structures and techniques to present arguments. One such method is the Rogerian argument.

  5. PDF Rogerian Argument

    Example thesis: While civilian gun ownership is acceptable for personal protection, the idea to eliminate Opposition Viewpoint Topic Evidence 1 gun control laws is not the best solution. Responsible gun ownership will lower the number of gun- Evidence 2 Evidence 3

  6. The Rogerian Argument

    1. Introduction: Introduce the issue under scrutiny in a non-confrontational way. Be sure to outline the main sides in the debate. Though there are always more than two sides to a debate, Rogerian arguments put two in stark opposition to one another.

  7. PDF Rogerian Argument APA 7th Edition

    Commented [A2]: This thesis statement is a "middle-ground" thesis and works well in a Rogerian argument. Not all Rogerian arguments will require a thesis statement in the introduction, but if one is provided, it should focus on finding the middle ground in the argument. three, five, eight, and 10" (Hovde, 2013).

  8. What is Rogerian Argument? (Kiefer)

    Based on Carl Rogers' work in psychology, Rogerian argument begins by assuming that a willing writer can find middle or common ground with a willing reader. Instead of promoting the adversarial relationship that traditional or classical argument typically sets up between reader and writer, Rogerian argument assumes that if reader and writer can ...

  9. Rogerian Argument

    The Rogerian argument, inspired by the influential psychologist Carl Rogers, aims to find compromise on a controversial issue. If you are using the Rogerian approach your introduction to the argument should accomplish three objectives: 1. Introduce the author and work. Usually, you will introduce the author and work in the first sentence:

  10. Rogerian Argument

    The danger of argumentative form becoming an exclusionary force, silencing rather than evoking discussion, is therefore greatly reduced. At this point, then, you may be wondering what Rogerian argument might actually look like in terms of an essay for a composition class. An essay modeled on Rogers's approach should include a few particular ...

  11. Rogerian Argument

    The Rogerian argument, inspired by the influential psychologist Carl Rogers, aims to find compromise on a controversial issue. If you are using the Rogerian approach your introduction to the argument should accomplish three objectives: Introduce the author and work. Usually, you will introduce the author and work in the first sentence, as in ...

  12. Essay 2

    The purpose of Essay 2 is to construct a Rogerian Argument. Students will use research skills and rhetorical analysis to investigate conflicting viewpoints on an issue with state or national impact.

  13. 4.5 Rogerian Argument

    Understanding all (or most) of the points surrounding your given topic will strengthen your own position as you will create a more fully informed essay. Pantuso, Terri, Sarah LeMire, and Kathy Anders, eds. Informed Arguments: A Guide to Writing and Research. Rev. 2nd ed. College Station: Texas A&M University, 2022.

  14. ROGERIAN ARGUMENTS

    Research-Based Rogerian Argument Assignment: For paper #4, you will be writing a grammatically correct, clearly organized essay that uses Rogerian Argument to explore and then state a position on a controversial social, ethical, intellectual, or historical issue. As a writer, your reason for creating this paper is to persuade your readers to ...

  15. Subject Guides: English (EN)

    A Rogerian Essay explores both sides of an issue and suggests a compromise, synthesis or solution. It's sometimes referred to as a "common ground" argument paper. A Rogerian Essay outline may look like this*: ... Sample of a Rogerian Essay. List of topics for the Rogerian Essay.

  16. Rogerian Argument Model

    The following are the basic parts of a Rogerian Argument: 1. Introduction: Introduce the issue under scrutiny in a non-confrontational way. Be sure to outline the main sides in the debate. Though there are always more than two sides to a debate, Rogerian arguments put two in stark opposition to one another.

  17. 8.2: Rogerian Argument

    Permission granted from Michael Franco at Writing Essay 4: Rogerian Argument This page titled 8.2: Rogerian Argument is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Lumen Learning via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon ...

  18. Rogerian Argument

    This type of argument can be extremely persuasive and can help you, as a writer, understand your own biases and how you might work to find common ground with others. Here is a summary of the basic strategy for a Rogerian argument, and the infographic on the following page should be helpful as well. In your essay, first, introduce the problem.

  19. 6.10: Rogerian Argument

    Carl Rogers (1902-1987) was an American psychologist and clinical therapist who utilized a humanistic (client-centered) approach to psychology. When applied to argumentation, the Rogerian method makes use of examining counterarguments as enhancements, or concessions, rather than viewing them as completely oppositional.

  20. 7.3: Rogerian Argument

    The following is a sample conclusion: Though the debate over racial profiling is sure to continue, each side desires to make the United States a safer place. ... Permission granted from Michael Franco at Writing Essay 4: Rogerian Argument . 7.3: Rogerian Argument is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated ...

  21. Sample Rogerian Argument papers

    Below you will find two examples of Rogerian arguments written by students. Neither is perfect, but both earned an "S" grade. As you read through them, look for common ground, the statement of the opponent's position, and where the POP comes. See if you can find compromise or solutions that embrace both sides.

  22. Rogerian Argument

    A Rogerian argument is a type of argument in which the author identifies the goals and issues of different sides of a topic, then attempts to identify commonalities which can be used to help both sides reach an agreement.. The format of a Rogerian argument is also very particular, following these steps: The writer presents a problem. At this point, the writer should not put their own opinion ...