Kallestinova: Steps for Crafting an Argument

In “Crafting an argument in steps: A writing process model for graduate and professional students with LD,” Elena Kallestinova (2017) examined existing writing process models in the context of the particular challenges students with learning disabilities face in completing academic argument writing tasks. Although her focus was on helping students with learning disabilities, she presented a structure and strategies for academic writing that could prove helpful to all academic writers.

Kallestinova (2017) proposed the Recursive Step-by-Step Approach to crafting academic arguments. She broke the process of crafting arguments into three stages: argument planning, argument drafting, and argument revision (noting that these stages are recursive rather than linear). Within each stage, writers select, synthesize, monitor, review, and translate information and ideas. Kallestinova offered a checklist of specific strategies writers can use to accomplish these tasks within each stage, which I briefly paraphrase and summarize here:

Argument Planning

  • Free-write on the argument topic to generate ideas.
  • Generate a list of evidence that supports the argument.
  • Evaluate the ideas and evidence; revise as necessary.
  • Develop bullet points into sentences.
  • Develop a preliminary outline.
  • Free-write on each section of the preliminary outline to develop a preliminary draft.

Argument Drafting

  • Copy select ideas from the preliminary draft to a new document.
  • Polish the claim statement.
  • Continue to develop and organize relevant evidence for your argument.
  • Develop reasoning for your claim based on the evidence, working on one section at a time.
  • Compile the separate sections into a comprehensive draft.

Argument Revision

  • Read the draft critically for main ideas and areas needing improvement. Place comments in the margins. Color code the necessary parts of the argument.
  • Create a reverse outline of the draft in order to see the big picture and evaluate the flow of the argument.
  • Fill in any additional evidence or reasoning needed.
  • Check that you have presented any necessary qualifications and rebuttals.
  • Solicit feedback from peers, colleagues, and others.
  • Revise your argument according to feedback received.

I encourage you to read the full article for Kallestinova’s (2017) insights into the argument writing process and her elaboration of the various suggested writing strategies for academic writers.


Kallestinova, E. (2017). Crafting an argument in steps: A writing process model for graduate and professional students with LD. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 15(1), 15-37.  Retrieved from http://www.ldw-ldcj.org/