Writing Arguments: An Overview

Academic Arguments

An academic argument is a formal argument constructed according to the specific conventions of the academic discipline in which it is presented. A literature argument, for instance, will typically include evidence from the literary text in question; a biology argument will include data from field or laboratory research.

Before beginning your argument, ask your instructor what academic conventions you will be expected to follow. Though many elements will remain the same, the norms for stating a claim or position, organizing the argument's evidence, structuring and styling its presentation and citing its sources will differ from one discipline to the next and from context to context.

Common to all academic arguments, however, are the following:

Credit must be given where credit is due: All outside sources must be documented (e.g., footnotes, endnotes, and in-text citations) using a citation format approved by the academic discipline into which the argument falls.

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