How to develop your argument

To demonstrate your arguments to the reader you need to balance both your own work and literature you use as evidence.

Here are some steps:

  1. Write your main idea/argument/point at the start of a paragraph, followed by supporting evidence afterwards.Example:

    To date there is no well-established tool to measure divided attention in children. Current methods used to assess divided attention usually involve a variation of the CPT with an additional task included, eg counting or listening to auditory stimuli (Salthouse, 2003)…

  2. Tell your reader explicitly what the research states in relation to your standpoint in step 1: whether it supports, contradicts etc. it.Examples:

     Chang (2009), however, takes a different approach….

     Reuben (2015), building on the work of Ramirez (2013), found that… 

  3. Explain your reader how your main assertion relates to your sources/evidence.Example:

    Renold (1997) discussed the political implications of the 1995 government paper “Raising the game”, which encouraged a return to traditional, competitive sports. This research found that within schools, not only did boys exclude girls from participation in sport based on their “passivity”, but official school practices also served to exclude the girls from the school football team. This research allows us to see that the “natural” gender order in relation to sport is not only deep-rooted in the eyes of the boys and girls in the playground, but importantly, is also ingrained in the various “tiers of the state” (Rowe, 1998, p.246). 

  4. Use assertive language to indicate your position on a topic. Show your strong agreement/disagreement/cautious agreement with your sources.Examples:

    Smith’s (2009) findings show a clear link…

    A serious weakness with this argument is…

    This research indicates…

  5. End your paragraphs by showing the significance of the point to the overall argument or idea you are trying to convey. Or show how you will transition to the next point in the next paragraph.Example:

    Indeed Shonan (1988) suggests that men are the gatekeepers of resources in sport, which they mainly distribute to other men; one example could be the Football Association. Consequently, men have greater opportunity to be successful in sport, reinforcing the belief that they are “naturally” talented.

  6. Proofread the entire paragraph.

Adapted from here