How to write a Rogerian argument essay

How to write a Rogerian argument essay
2020-05-13

Sometimes people’s actions are very difficult to explain and understand. Many of us often argue about things we don’t even have a clear idea about.  We would save so much of our valuable time and nerves to take a break, breathe, and try to find a peaceful solution to the issue. First-person to offer such an approach was American psychologist Carl Rogers. His work was taken as a basis for a unique method called Rogerian argument.

For many of us, this combination of words will be an empty sound. But students of humanities or social sciences know it very well. They are often assigned writing a Rogerian essay using this method. Keep reading this article if you want to know what is a Rogerian argument, situations to use it, and the essay structure. You will also find some useful tips that will ease your process of writing.

A Rogerian essay is very much different from other types of written assignments. Below you will find a detailed description of the process. Pay attention to every detail to compose one correctly.

1. Dialogical character

You are not supposed to start a dialogue with your audience in this type of essay. However, you can imagine you carry on a conversation with your reader, and thus you can predict what their answers and questions might be. Of course, this is only an unreal conversation. But you should remember that in the future this type of essay can form a good basis for dialogue.

2. Keep balance

There should be a balance between the opinion of your opponent and yours in your essay. It is rather difficult to stay objective when you have all chances of winning an argument. When you feel at the verge, remember that the main purpose of this type of essay is finding common ground without actually arguing.

3. Stay reasonable

When you write argumentative essays, you should prove your statement trying to persuade the readers. This is not the case of the Rogerian essay. You will not need to persuade your audience, believing your opinion. This is why there is no need for using various psychological methods of influencing your readers. You need to find a reasonable way to communicate with them.

4. Forget about long descriptions

You already know that in this type of essay, they don’t usually express emotions and attitudes, but keep it neutral. But it does not mean that you have only to present the issue you work on. Your task is not to describe or explain the general topic. You only provide a small portion of background info. You should be focusing on argumentation.

What is the Rogerian model of argument?

Of course, there were other people besides Carl Rogers, who offered a non-conflict way to solve issues between people. But his humanistic approaches to different life situations served a basis for a fresh approach to argumentation.

The main idea of Rogerian method is to let your opponent speak first and try to understand their point of view. And only after that, you can express your opinion. When you try to understand the other person better, their ideas and views, it is easier to look for a compromise.

The Rogerian argument does not aim at proving your opponent’s opinion to be wrong.  It is exactly the opposite. This method helps to achieve 4 main goals:

  • Find common interests
  • Try to form the initial stage for future dialogue and cooperation
  • Help your opponent and readers trust you
  • Find a way for exchanging opinions

Specific traits

Rogerian essay shares some common features with other types of essays. However, there are some specific traits:

Introduction. This is the first part of your work where you are supposed to add a hook to attract your readers’ attention to the problem you describe.

Thesis. It describes your main opinion about the topic you work on. You should let your reader know there will be a proposed solution to the described problem.

Body. In the body, you usually present arguments and explanations. In this type of essay, you first present your opponent’s ideas and supporting evidence, and then yours. You also show what is common and what is different in both of your ideas.

Conclusion. In this part, you have to sum up the main point of both parties and offer a solution satisfactory for both.

11 Steps

If you are assigned this type of essay for the first time, do not rush to panic. Yes, it might seem impossible of achievement at first. But if you take your time, think well, and follow the steps below, you will definitely succeed.

  1. Choose the topic you like. If you write about a vague topic, you just waste your time and energy.  You should start by choosing a clear, narrow, and interesting topic to work on. It is preferable that you know the topic at least a bit.
  2. Look for information. Even if you think that you are an expert to talk on your topic, you should still look for additional up-to-date info. You will need it to support your idea and provide fresh arguments.
  3. Design an outline. An outline helps you plan your entire process. This is relevant not only for Rogerian essay but also for other assignments too.
  4. Begin with common ideas. This is a very good action if you begin writing not about a clash of views, but about some common ideas that you share with your opponent. It will show that your desire is to find a compromise.
  5. Present your opinion briefly. When you write a Rogerian essay, you should begin by presenting your own ideas, not your opponent’s. No arguments are needed. You just present your point of you. Make it brief and precise.
  6. Conduct analyzes of your opponent’s arguments. You should pay a lot of attention to writing this part. If you miss any important argument that presents your opponent’s views, you may fail the main idea of Rogerian strategy.
  7. Determine the clash of views. You should define and describe what the main differences in your and your opponent’s views are.
  8. Classify and explain. The origins of the differences can be different. Some arguments may relate to the social side of the problems. There can be arguments that relate to moral and other aspects of the problem. Once classified, they should be explained. Some origins can be hidden from your readers.
  9. Defining meeting points. While working on the differences, you may notice that there are common aspects between some of them. Pay special attention to this stage because it will form a basis for future dialogue.
  10. Present ideas one by one. The Rogerian essay is not as aggressive as argumentative one, of example. It means you should go steady and not pour all the information you have on your reader. Present your ideas slowly, one by one.
  11. Add a common agreement in the end. The final step is not less important than the previous once. This is where you sum up what was said before and determined the common agreement between two parties. Remember to add a word about the importance of further talk.

Helpful tips

  • Define common ideas before writing. It might happen that your points of view are too different so that it will be very difficult to find anything to discuss.
  • Define your audience. Knowing your reader helps you find ways to draw their attention to the problems and how it affects their life.
  • Use positive language. Always look for positive aspects in your opponent’s point of view.
  • Keep your tone neutral. If you need to write a Rogerian essay, make sure it does not sound like you are trying to persuade someone in something. This is why keep it clear and open. Do not use misleading terms or tricky sentences.

Feminist responses to Rogerian argument

In the early 1970s, there started a debate on women using the Rogerian strategy for solving problems. The debate lasted for 20 years until the 1990s.

This issue divided feminists into two camps. One group believed Rogerian argument is feminist. They considered it to be less aggressive compared to the Aristotelian argument.

The other group claimed that this strategy deliberately reminded of the common feminine stereotype each time it was applied by women. They believed that looking for consensus emphasizes how non-confrontational and reasonable women should be.