An academic argument:
- starts with an arguable premise or claim. It does not merely present facts. A premise is arguable if it is possible to argue against it
Example of an arguable premise: ‘Love becomes an exercise in power in Shakespeare’s plays.’
Example of an un-arguable premise: ‘Shakespeare’s plays contain many references to love and power.’
- uses facts and evidence to explore that premise or claim
- is logical and coherent, breaking down the overall proposition into smaller parts and moving from step to step in a clear, developmental manner
- uses references and credits them. The facts, evidence and different points of view used to explore the premise or claim will come from outside sources. These sources are acknowledged in a footnote or in parentheses.
There are many different kinds of argument, depending on the question and the approach you decide to take.
Ordering ideas for an effective argument:
- the shape of your argument must dictate the structure of your essay
- ruthlessly get rid of any points which aren’t relevant to the argument – be disciplined in your writing
- make evident the ways in which each paragraph and each point contribute to your argument
- make your argument particularly explicit in the introduction and conclusion