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An Academic Argument: Step One

Most academic writing is persuasive, which means the writer wants the reader to accept what he or she presents as true. Anyone who has studied argumentation from a philosophical or composition lens knows that arguments must have certain elements to be effective.


One of the main elements of an effective argument is a statement that can be considered true. The statement is not factual, but it can be considered true. Crafting this type of statement requires writing technique and skill.


To understand how to build an argument effectively, you must understand the difference between a weak and strong statement. More importantly, you must learn how to strengthen statements to make them stronger. See the statements below for an example:


Weak Statement: Damien Johnson's photographs of people in migration are beautiful and informative.


Stronger Statement: Like a photojournalist, Damien Johnson captures photographs of newsworthy events, but he goes beyond objective reporting to impart his compassion for refugees and migrants into his work.


The first statement is somewhat subjective. The writer can persuade the audience on how Johnson's photos are informative. However, without using some metric or disciplinary definition of beauty, the writer will not be able to convince the reader that Johnson's photos are beautiful. As the cliché goes, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."


However, the second statement is written with more objectivity. Also, the author can gather various forms of support and evidence to prove the subpoints made in this statement.


The first step in building an academic argument begins with one statement. If written properly, this one statement can be used to write a 25 page argument or a 150 page argument.

To learn more about crafting persuasive statements properly and the other elements of an effective academic argument, click here: CTW Center for Academic Writing Development. Membership to this center will give you access to building effective arguments and 20 more topics to help remove the stress, frustration and anxiety associated with scholarly writing.


You are a writer; with the proper information, resources and skills, you can become a proficient academic writer.


Cultivating Writers, Cultivating Scholars...one tip at a time!



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