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If logic and reasoning are the tools, a proper
concise argument is the product.
This series of slides will attempt to inform you of
the basis of a proper argument.
What is an argument?
• Presenting effective arguments is at the heart of good
essay writing – in almost every essay you should aim to
make an overall point in response to some issue or
• That doesn’t mean you have to argue for something
you don’t believe in.
• Strive for accuracy and make claims, however small,
that you can justify as a result of your research/paper.
Reading the opposing argument
• Read the literature and start thinking critically about what you are
• Do you agree?
• Do you disagree?
• When you are reading [an argument] look for points which you
think you can refute.
• Most importantly try to figure out his/her central point (what the
piece is trying to convey).
• This is extremely important in constructing an argument as this
helps you refute the core of the piece rather than limiting your self
to refuting certain points of it.
It starts with the question:
• ‘Are you able to argue against the central point or refute
certain points of the argument?’
• Asking do you want to/able to go against the papers
argument, or do you completely agree/concede with the
• If the answer is no - but you still want/need to write an
argument, you can write several supporting points that
other papers have missed, or you state your own thesis on
the subject at hand [reinforcing this with relevant academic
• If the answer is yes – then move to the next step in the
• This is critical in an argument. If you don’t have it,
your argument has no basis [it is merely an
• Good evidence if often objective in nature.
Objective means that statements can be verified
and tested to see its merits.
• For example – we know that gravity exists
because if we drop an object it will fall.
• Often a good argument will consist of several
pieces of evidence.
Organise your thoughts
• Once you have your opinion, and your
evidence its time to organise your thoughts.
• It can be useful to put these ideas into a table
which categorises your thoughts and research
In what regard?
A good argument not only considers the points to refute, but
also points that may be made to refute your own argument
Consider the following
• Identify your core concern – what is the essence
of your argument – its major points?
• Investigate other thinkers and researchers in the
area. What possible answers might you arrive at?
• Sequence your work – whatever suits you (bullet
points, spider diagram, pictures etc.)
• Summarise your arguments briefly – possible
using no more than a single line. You may be able
to use this as a thesis statement later.
The central parts of an argument
1. Premise – a proposition which gives reasons,
grounds, or evidence for accepting some
other proposition, called the conclusion.
2. Conclusion – a proposition, which is
purported to be established on the basis of
• If a tree falls in a forest, but no body is around
to hear it does it make a sound?
Proposition 1 – No it makes not
Proposition 2 – Yes it will make a
Reasons, Grounds and
The tree makes no sound
The following points are a useful guide to
writing up your argument in a clear and
• State your argument clearly and early on in
your work. What are you setting out to prove?
This will tell your reader where you are
heading with your argument and will
immediately grab their interest. This is a thesis
• Set out the structure of your work,
demonstrating concisely how your work will
• Give the background to your work and set out
any relevant definitions – do NOT assume that
your reader will be familiar with them
(remember the aim is to demonstrate your
knowledge and research skills).
• Fully detail any theoretical underpinnings and
why you have used them (e.g. writing from a
this will depend on the purpose of the paper and the subject
This essay discusses issues of discrimination relating to
adults with disabilities in Wales, and will draw upon the
legislative and cultural, to examine this topic. Although
there are many and varied manifestations of disability,
this assignment will primarily focus on persons with
physical impairments. Reference will be made to the
multifarious nature of discrimination and the meaning
of power, discrimination and oppression, from the
perspective of service users, will also be
comprehensively addressed. The essay begins with a
comprehensive definition of discrimination and
describes how the term need not always, according to
Thompson, (2006) be negative.
Remember! Back up your argument throughout
your essay with relevant data, examples and
academic work in order to provide a balanced,
well rounded and informed discussion that looks
at your topic from varied angles.
For your conclusion, return to your original argument and place it firmly
into its final context, stating your conclusions boldly.
In conclusion then, it is clear that in Wales, the Welsh Assembly
Government is fully engaged with issues relating to equality and diversity. It
actively seeks to encourage organisations to promote anti discriminatory
practice in accordance with its Code of Practice (2002) through the provision
of appropriate and sensitive services that are needs-led, rather than
resource driven. The legislation formulated to counter discrimination helps
to ensure that those in our society who are disadvantaged, whether that be
through physical or mental disability, are provided with opportunities to
achieve their goals and ambitions. We have also seen that whilst power is a
complex issue it can be seen as a creative as well as a controlling force and
can serve to maintain equity between professionals and those with
Clearly then, difference is something to be valued positively and the unique
nature of individuals and groups with physical disabilities should always be
accepted and respected. (Social Care Institute of Excellence, 2006)
(Extracts adapted from an essay by anonymous student, 2008)
Developing your arguments
How to present an argument in an
1. Stating your point of view early in the essay and presenting a clear
rationale to support it. Your point of view should be a consistent one
throughout the essay.
2. Offering reliable evidence or examples to support your argument.
Reliable evidence is evidence that you have read in reputable and
authoritative texts, articles, newspapers, Internet sites etc.
3. Showing where this evidence has come from: by citing your sources
and listing all your sources in the reference or bibliography section at
the end of the essay.
4. Showing that you are aware of, and have considered arguments that
are counter to your own. You will need to summarise counter arguments
in a clear, accurate and undistorted way in your essay
5. Being able to show why you have decided that the arguments that
you have chosen to advance are more convincing for you than others.