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Please see below for things to consider when structuring an argument:

A. Make a Claim

Your claim is your thesis statement or paragraph topic sentence. Think: "What's my point?" See Thesis statements for more information as well as the "Topic sentences" section in Paragraphs.

B. Evidence

Use appropriate evidence to support your claim. See Paragraphs for more information on using evidence.

C. Counterarguments

Every argument has an opposing claim, and it strengthens your position if you respectfully acknowledge the merits and properties of the opposite view or counterargument before showing how your argument is stronger. Examine in depth one or two counterarguments rather than only providing a surface view of many counter-views. Providing an assessment of the opposing view and the merits (or lack thereof) of the perspective is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your critical thinking skills. Please see Counterarguments for more information, and Critical thinking for more information on demonstrating your analytical skills.

D. Audience

Consider your audience to be uninformed, not ignorant. That is, your audience is capable of understanding your arguments, has sufficient knowledge of the topic to be able to follow your thinking, but isn't all-knowing and able to glean deeper meaning from glancing mentions of facts and information.

E. Critical Reading

When you're assessing other materials to learn new facts and approaches, remember that the authors of those materials also have biases and philosophical approaches that shape their findings. Don't assume that all published studies are "the right way"; consider the findings and the evidence and come to your own decision as to whether or not you agree with the author. Similar to the skills required in the Counterargument section, accomplishing a critical reading requires that you engage your critical or analytical thinking skills to determine your own conclusions. See Critical thinking for more information. (Adapted from the UNC Writing Centre Handout: "Argument")

For more information on writing paragraphs that present well-structured arguments, please see Building Persuasive Arguments and the resources in Paragraphs. To search for additional information, please visit WriteAnswers and search the FAQs. If you're a RRU student, you can also use the WriteAnswers contact form to send your questions directly to the Writing Centre. We'll send you a private reply as soon as we can, which is typically within one business day of receiving the message.