Paper Writing: Making an Argument Are you writing an argument?
Are you writing an argument?
- An argument involves the process of establishing a claim and then proving it with the use of logical reasoning, examples, and research.
- Choose a topic you can explore.
- Study the issues critically.
- Pick a side.
- Make a claim (thesis statement).
- Make a case for the defense of your position.
- Consider the opposing viewpoints by either a) refuting them or b) qualifying your own argument.
- Test your argument for fairness/effectiveness
Writing Clearly for Arts & Science
- Three main principles of good writing are:
- “When you are out to describe the truth,
- leave elegance to the tailor.” Albert Einstein
Why is organization important in building an argument?
- Guides an audience through your reasoning process
- Offers a clear explanation of each argued point
- Demonstrates the credibility of the writer
Thinking about Titles
- Introduce the topic of discussion to the audience
- Avoid titles that are too general or lack character
- Pick up on words or examples offered in the body or conclusion of the paper
- personal anecdote
- example-real or hypothetical
- shocking statistics
- striking image
- brief summary of the background
What is a thesis statement?
- The MOST IMPORTANT SENTENCE in your paper
- Lets the reader know the main idea of the paper
- Not a factual statement, but a claim that has to be proven throughout the paper
- Answers the question: “What am I trying to prove?”
- Analytical thesis statements:
- “Electronic invasion of privacy endangers Canadian families.”
- Argumentative thesis statements:
- “Internet users should never send personal information, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or even home addresses, through the internet.”
- Explanatory thesis statements:
- - “Privacy problems on the internet are inevitable because of the technical format, human nature, and the realities of contemporary life.”
Thesis Statements in Argument Essays
- Everything in the essay should relate to the thesis statement.
- Construct a series of arguments which will convince the reader of the truth and validity of your position as stated in the thesis.
- Use your thesis statement as the starting point for a plan or outline of your essay.
Which thesis statement is the most effective for an argument about the need for V-chips in television sets?
- Parents, often too busy to watch television shows with their families, can monitor their children’s viewing habits with the aid of the V-chip.
- To help parents monitor their children’s viewing habits, the V-chip should be a required feature for television sets sold in the U.S.
- This paper will describe a V-chip and examine the uses of the V-chip in American-made television sets.
How Can You Tell a Strong Thesis Statement?
- A strong thesis takes some sort of stand.
- A strong thesis justifies the discussion in the rest of your essay.
- A strong thesis expresses one main idea.
- A strong thesis statement is specific.
Body Paragraphs and Topic Sentences
- Body paragraphs build upon the claims made in the introductory paragraph(s).
- Use topic sentences to illustrate the main idea of each paragraph.
- Give a brief explanation of the history or recent developments in your topic within the early body paragraphs.
- Paragraphs may be ordered in several ways, depending upon the topic and purpose of your argument:
- Addressing the claims of the opposition is an important component in building a convincing argument.
- It demonstrates your credibility as a writer--you have researched multiple sides of the argument and have come to an informed decision.
Offering a Counterargument
- Counterarguments may be located at various locations within your body paragraphs.
- You may choose to:
- build each of your main points as a contrast to oppositional claims.
- offer a counterargument after you have articulated your main claims.
- Consider your audience when you offer your counterargument.
- Conceding to some of your opposition’s concerns can demonstrate respect for their opinions.
- Remain tactful yet firm.
- Using rude or deprecating language can cause your audience to reject your position without carefully considering your claims.
Incorporating research into the body paragraphs
- Researched material can aid you in proving the claims of your argument and disproving oppositional claims.
- Be sure to use your research to support the claims made in your topic sentences--make your research work to prove your argument!
- Your conclusion should reemphasize the main points made in your paper.
- You may choose to reiterate a call to action or speculate on the future of your topic, when appropriate.
- Avoid raising new claims in your conclusion.
Organizing your argument
- Body Paragraphs
- Constructing Topic Sentences
- Building Main Points
- Countering the Opposition
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