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What Is a Rogerian Argument and How to Use It

July 4, 2020

A Rogerian Argument implies a method for resolving conflicts and finding common ground between opposing sides, while each of them can still state their position. This form of argumentation is less aggressive than the Toulmin method, for instance (with little consideration of the opposing side’s feelings). The Rogerian Method leads to common understanding so that each person could open up to new ideas and views without changing their mind.

Rogerian Argument Essay - Helpful Tips On Writing

Even though the goal of a Rogerian Argument is not to change another person’s mind, it is still a method of argumentation. You are supposed to persuade the opponent to respect your opinion at least.

The point is that Carl Rogers, the inventor of this argumentation method, wanted people to listen to one another and find common ground without changing their viewpoints. According to the Rogerian approach, mutual respect is more important than agreeing with the opponent’s opinion. This approach can be employed in oral debate and written discussions.

How to Build the Rogerian Argument Properly

The Rogerian Argument is suitable for issues of subjective nature. This approach cannot be used to discuss, for example, the fact that the Earth orbits the Sun. Such a fact is not disputable. The Rogerian approach is meant for nonobjective issues in such spheres as social, religious, political, etc.

A Rogerian Argument is built using three major parts: 

  1. The presentation of your opponent’s point of view (if you start first, you do not state your opinion on this stage, but the opposing side’s)
  2. Your viewpoint
  3. The comparison of both perspectives and identifying parallels between them 

The style of presenting opposing viewpoints is pretty flexible. You decide on how to present information and how much time you should spend on each part. However, it is better to aim for balance. If you spend too much time on your point of view and too little time on presenting your opponent’s position, it is contrary to the Rogerian approach’s purpose.        

How to Write a Paper Using the Rogerian Approach

First of all, it is important to be super conscious of the opposing point of view. You should state the conflict source or opposing perspectives, acknowledge that your opponent’s viewpoint is valid, and state that your opinion is equally well-founded. 

We recommend the following order for your Rogerian Argument Essay:

  • Introduction. At this stage, you should identify the source of conflict and explain why people can look at it differently. Try inserting a relevant quote or an interesting fact to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Opposing viewpoint. Present your opponent’s general view. If it is complex, present a short synopsis on this stage and explain it later. If you can easily and fully describe it using a couple of paragraphs, go for it. 
  • Your opponent’s viewpoint validation. Show that you understand and respect your opponent’s opinion by pointing out that it is logical. Explain how you understand it and why other individuals can think the same way.   
  • Your opinion. After you clarify that your opponent’s position is understood, courteously transition to your views. Again, in case of your position’s complexity, provide a brief synopsis at this stage. 
  • Validating your position. Now you can clarify why your viewpoint is logical. Present persuasive evidence and explain why your opponent should consider your argument. You may try to persuade the readers that your viewpoint makes more sense. However, you should not openly state that. In this case, the common ground and respect will be lost. 
  • Your viewpoint’s benefits (conclusion). To conclude, sum up your view and move the reader into realizing why your opinion is beneficial and be concise. Present a solution that serves as a common ground.  

Exposing Opposing Views in Rogerian Argument Essay

How to expose your opponent’s point of view?

You should present the opposing side’s opinion as objectively as you can. Make sure that you follow these rules:

  1. Be honest and respectful, state your opponent’s position as if it was yours;
  2. Focus on the major points this position is based on but do not get into excessive details;
  3. Refer to a source in which the opposing side’s viewpoint is clearly stated (this could be a book or a website). This will help in comparing whether your explanation of the opposing viewpoint is proper.

If you need clarification of ideas, it is recommended to contact your opponent and ask questions. If this is not possible, rely on what is written. 

How to expose your point of view?

If you want your exposition to be good, answer these questions:

  1. What is the topic you would like to discuss, precisely?
  2. What is your standpoint?
  3. How can you prove this view using two major arguments?
  4. Are there arguments that can repudiate your viewpoint? What are they?

It is crucial to determine the topic precisely. This will make it easier for you to formulate your opinion. When the argument is too broad and vague, discussions become nearly impossible.

While working on your Rogerian argument, also consider the following things:

  • do not get into personal attacks (e.g., “It is stupid to think that what he/she writes makes any sense”);
  • do not distort your opponent’s assumption in any way (by presenting it partially, for instance);
  • avoid convincing the reader but search for a possible way to solve the problem. 

Sample Essay Topics for Rogerian Argument Essay

Remember: proper Rogerian topics should have more than one viewpoint and be subjective. Here is the list of good Rogerian essay topics:

  1. Cosmetics companies should not test their products on animals.
  2. Smoking in public places should be banned.
  3. Marijuana should be legal for medical use.
  4. Teenagers should be provided with free contraceptives in schools.
  5. Euthanasia is humane if the patient is terminally ill.
  6. The Internet should be censored.
  7. The government should restrict tobacco advertisements.
  8. Single-sex schools have more benefits than the usual schools.
  9. Video games are the reason for child violence.
  10. A two-child policy is necessary to prevent overpopulation.
  11. Modern technologies help children in learning.
  12. E-learning should be included in the curriculum.
  13. Religious studies should be obligatory in schools.
  14. Child obesity is the fault of the fast-food industry.
  15. Parents are responsible for their child’s decisions.
  16. It is ethically wrong to forbid same-sex marriages.
  17. The government should allow everyone to own a gun.
  18. People have become too dependent on technology.
  19. Abortion should be illegal.
  20. Food and beverage companies should not advertise to children.
  21. Global warming is caused by human activity.
  22. Prisoners should not be allowed to vote.
  23. Children behave much worse than twenty years ago.
  24. Recycling should be done by everyone.
  25. Cameras in law enforcement invade privacy.
  26. We live in a throwaway society.
  27. Cell phones can be harmful to human health.
  28. Bored teenagers cause serious troubles.
  29. All schools should make uniforms obligatory.

Extra Tips on How to Write a Rogerian Argument Essay

You have learned a lot already, but we want to make your essay even better! Consider the following additional tips while writing:

  • Common ground should be identified before you start writing the essay. Are you sure that you have something to debate with the opposing side? Your viewpoints may be too controversial, and there can be no common understanding. In this case, your work may be futile.
  • Use neutral language and tone (remember, no personal attacks, no negative emotional expressions).
  • The appropriate formatting styles for a Rogerian essay are APA and MLA.
  • Do not focus on winning and persuading someone, but aim for common understanding and respect.
  • Find specialized literature and study the topic. This will enable you to defend your standpoint.
  • Avoid logical mistakes and revise your essay attentively to make sure that there are no fallacies. 
  • Use quotes, data, statistics, text excerpts, other people’s opinions, or any relevant and reliable information to back up your point of view.
  • Maintain balance by providing the same number of arguments for both sides. It will make your essay harmonic. Sure, it might be tempting to win the argument, but this is not the point in case of a Rogerian argument essay.
  • In the end, focus on the bright side. Sound optimistic and inspired about the whole discussion.

Hopefully, this information and our small tips will be of help in the process of writing your paper. Make sure that you are familiar with all the main points and nuances before you start working on a Rogerian essay. If you still experience any difficulties and need help, contact us! Our experts who are available round-the-clock will be happy to help you with any type of assignment, including a Rogerian argument essay. Do not hesitate, entrust your papers to our professional writers and get the highest grades!