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Critically analyse

How to structure an academic argument

You develop an academic argument in order to persuade or convince your reader. You will therefore need to make a case for your claims, and in so doing you will critically analyse all lines of the argument - both the arguments that support your claim and those against it. Each argument for a claim becomes a line of argument.

When you start to think about constructing your argument, be clear about the problem that you are researching, your purpose, and why you are undertaking this pursuit. Be clear what your position or perspective is regarding the topic and the research question. Understand your stance.

What material do you have that supports your position?

What are the alternate views and perspectives that the reader may adopt, and what doubts could the reader have? Now you will need to construct an argument to justify your position and answer the possible reader's doubts or alternate views. In providing supported evidence you will build your case to convince your reader to appreciate your claims.

Finally you will have to work out how to present this line of critical thinking or academic argument in a logical manner. See Johnson & Blair (1994) and Toulmin (2003).

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