The most common method of building an argument is deductive reasoning, where a syllogism is constructed using a major premise, a minor premise and a conclusion. In most cases, the major premise is the all-encompassing, worldview idea, while the minor premise is the idea specific to a given argument. The conclusion then naturally follows from the two premises.
For example, in an essay arguing that handguns should be outlawed, the syllogism might look like this:
Major Premise: That which is potentially dangerous should be outlawed.
Minor Premise: Handguns are potentially dangerous.
Conclusion: Handguns should be outlawed.
When evaluating the merits of a deductive syllogism, the critical thinker needs to ask if an argument is sound. That is, are the premises true (do you agree?) and are the premises valid (do they relate to each other?). If the syllogism is either false or invalid, then the argument is unsound.