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In fact, making an argument—expressing a point of view on a subject and supporting it with evidence—is often the aim of academic writing.
Is it statistics, a logical development of points, something from the object being discussed (art work, text, culture, or atom), the way something works, or some combination of more than one of these things? Unlike negotiating for the use of your parents’ car, a college paper is not the place for an all-out blitz of every type of argument.
You can often use more than one type of evidence within a paper, but make sure that within each section you are providing the reader with evidence appropriate to each claim.
It is time to stake out a position and prove why it is a good position for a thinking person to hold. Claims can be as simple as “Protons are positively charged and electrons are negatively charged,” with evidence such as, “In this experiment, protons and electrons acted in such and such a way.” Claims can also be as complex as “The end of the South African system of apartheid was inevitable,” using reasoning and evidence such as, “Every successful revolution in the modern era has come about after the government in power has given and then removed small concessions to the uprising group.” In either case, the rest of your paper will detail the reasoning and evidence that have led you to believe that your position is best.
When beginning to write a paper, ask yourself, “What is my point?
We all use argumentation on a daily basis, and you probably already have some skill at crafting an argument.
The more you improve your skills in this area, the better you will be at thinking critically, reasoning, making choices, and weighing evidence. In academic writing, an argument is usually a main idea, often called a “claim” or “thesis statement,” backed up with evidence that supports the idea.Instructors are usually looking for two things: This second part can be done in many ways: you can critique the material, apply it to something else, or even just explain it in a different way.In order to succeed at this second step, though, you must have a particular point to argue.Asking yourself what your point is can help you avoid a mere “information dump.” Consider this: your instructors probably know a lot more than you do about your subject matter.Why, then, would you want to provide them with material they already know?Pay attention to your textbooks and your instructor’s lectures.What types of argument and evidence are they using?Did you present them with lots of instances of your past trustworthiness?Did you make them feel guilty because your friends’ parents all let them drive?This handout will define what an argument is and explain why you need one in most of your academic essays.You may be surprised to hear that the word “argument” does not have to be written anywhere in your assignment for it to be an important part of your task.