Is It an Argument?
Answers to some basic questions regarding an assignment will help you determine whether an argument is being called for not. Look for the following:
- Are you being asked to take a position or state an opinion, support it with evidence and convince others of its viability or correctness?
- Is the topic debatable? Are there multiple answers, interpretations, solutions, or stances that could be taken?
- Are you being asked to include a call to action: recommend a change in policy or methodology, plead for further research or request that an end be put to a specific debate?
If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions, your professor expects you to construct an argument. With that in mind, here's a list of keyword phrases to look for that will also help you make this determination.
- Take a position
- State and explain your opinion
- Argue for or against
- Defend your interpretation
- Defend your solution
- Provide a solution
- Convince others
- Propose an action for others to take
- Do you agree? Why or why not?