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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.
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?
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.
The type of evidence that sways an English instructor may not work to convince a sociology instructor.
Find out what counts as proof that something is true in that field.In the majority of college papers, you will need to make some sort of claim and use evidence to support it, and your ability to do this well will separate your papers from those of students who see assignments as mere accumulations of fact and detail.In other words, gone are the happy days of being given a “topic” about which you can write anything.Did you whine until they just wanted you to shut up?Did you look up statistics on teen driving and use them to show how you didn’t fit the dangerous-driver profile?In their courses, they want you to engage in similar kinds of critical thinking and debate.Argumentation is not just what your instructors do.” For example, the point of this handout is to help you become a better writer, and we are arguing that an important step in the process of writing effective arguments is understanding the concept of argumentation.If your papers do not have a main point, they cannot be arguing for anything.These are all types of argumentation, and they exist in academia in similar forms.Every field has slightly different requirements for acceptable evidence, so familiarize yourself with some arguments from within that field instead of just applying whatever evidence you like best.