9-Making an Argument
Nearly all scholarly writing makes an argument. That’s because its purpose is to create and share new knowledge so it can be debated in order to confirm, dis-confirm, or improve it. That arguing takes place mostly in journals and scholarly books and at conferences. It’s called the scholarly conversation, and it’s that conversation that moves forward what we humans know.
Tip: Prezi on Scholarly Publishing
View an overview of the different ways in which scholars share their work with each other and the public.
Making an argument means trying to convince others that you are correct as you describe a thing, situation, relationship, or phenomenon and/or persuade them to take a particular action. Important not just in college, that skill will be necessary for nearly every professional job you hold after college. So learning how to make an argument is good job preparation, even if you do not choose a scholarly career.
Realizing that your final product for your research project is to make an argument gives you a big head start because right off you know the sources you’re going to need are those that will let you write the components of an argument for your reader.
Happily (and not coincidentally), most of those components coincide with the information needs we’ve been talking about. Meeting an information need by using sources will enable you to write the corresponding argument component in your final product.