- Sources add to the ethos of your argument by providing knowledge and perspectives that you don’t have.
- An argument usually has a thesis (what you’re claiming), evidence, reasoning (how the evidence connects to the claim), acknowledgement (what someone who doesn’t agree with you would say) and response (how you’d refute that).
- Crafting an argument can lead you to change your mind. If you can’t find a response for an acknowledgement, you might have to alter your thesis.
- When you summarize sources, you restate their point. When you synthesize, you combine multiple ideas to turn them into something new.
- When you synthesize, look for patterns.
Your instructor may ask you to complete one or more of the following exercises.
- Find an online argument. You might check out the Reddit subreddit Change My View, where people post controversial viewpoints and others try to change their mind. Try to identify the elements of an argument you learned in this chapter. Write 1 – 2 paragraphs about your findings. Alternately, imagine that you were asked to contribute to the discussion. Write a response that uses the elements of an argument we learned in this chapter. You don’t need to post it, but if you do post it, pay attention to the responses you get. How do people respond to your argument?
- Find a report or another piece of writing where someone is making an argument in the workplace. Identify its thesis and main points. Do you agree with all of the points? If so, write 1-2 paragraphs explaining what made the argument persuasive. If not, write 1-2 paragraphs identifying weaknesses in the argument.
- If you speak another language, find an example of an argument in that language. Does it use the elements of argumentation you learned in this chapter? Are there any differences in the way the argument is constructed?
This chapter contains material from Choosing and Using Sources: A Guide To Academic Research by the Ohio State University Libraries, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.