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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