Successful Argument Building

Online guide to successfully building an argument in an academic paper.

Building an argument

booksIdentify supporting reasons

Literature review

Where the assignment topic is more contentious there may be competing reasons and ways to reason. It will be important to critically evaluate the various reasons and conclude which applies best to your assignment.

Journal articles / Textbooks / Theory

A good literature review examines reasoning critically and from several points of view. By reviewing literature carefully it is possible to argue for a particular approach to the assignment - yet remain mindful of the kind of mistakes and omissions that such a choice might imply.

Beware: A weak literature review simply lists who said what to no purpose or, worse still, cites one approach alone without justification. You should note that individual writers are not "authorities" as such.

The next subchapter suggests how you may use primary research to help identify supporting reasons.