Handing in a research paper is amongst the most daunting tasks of your academic career. Research papers account for a large part of a student’s grades and these papers must not be taken lightly. By writing a research paper, you’ll be tested on various skills. The marks will not be determined on how great your paper looks but will be dependent on the quality of the content that it has. Your instructor will check your research skills, along with other skills like critical thinking, analysis and evaluation. If you’re short of time and need professional assistance, don’t forget to check out the ultimate research paper guide that will give you a great head start.
Argumentative research papers
Argumentative research papers are an important type of research papers. These papers, as their name suggest, require the writer to present an argument. The writer must take a stand on an issue or base an opinion and then work to prove and support the argument through the research paper. These papers are analytical however; they use quality information from reliable sources to support the key point. Think of it as a lawyer who gathers evidence, checks its validity, understands it and then presents the case.
Argumentative research papers can be thought of as subtle written debates. They examine your critical thinking skills as well as your ability to analyse an argument effectively. An argument in a research paper will make use of evidence to help support the writer’s stand on an issue. On the other hand, analysis in a research paper uses evidence to support a topic perspective. The first focuses on proving the writer’s opinion on the topic for which they are presenting the argument whilst the latter focuses on supporting a certain aspect of the topic. There’s a fine line between the two but let’s take a look at examples to make things clear.
“The role of social media in tearing down moral values,” this is a broad topic that will require you to research and find proof on how social media is tearing down moral values. You can use facts and figures to support the topic.
On the other hand an argumentative research paper topic could be “celebrities should not be defining beauty standards.” Here you are giving your view. You are presenting your argument that you are not happy with the role of celebrities in defining beauty standards. Whilst you may have enough information to support your claim, somebody may disagree to it or hold an opinion that contradicts yours. This is how the two kinds of research papers vary.
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Four essential elements to include when presenting your argument:
When presenting an argument in your research paper, there are four essential elements that your paper should include. These are as follows:
1. The claim:
The claim can be thought of as your position on the argument. So for instance, are you in favour of the topic or against it? The answer you choose would be your claim. This is the conclusion of your argument or the judgment you have based on your argument. It is the key statement of your research paper and the whole paper must revolve around this. You have to put forth a strong claim in order to be successful in addressing it.
2. Evidence that supports the claim:
The key goal of your research paper would be to address the argument that you present in an effective manner. You will do this through the use of carefully extracted research evidence that is from trustworthy information sources. You can get your evidence for your argument from:
- The internet
- The library
- Personal experiences
Depending on the topic of your research paper, they may be some fancy terms that your readers are unfamiliar with. Therefore, it is important that you include a glossary of key terms with their brief explanations. If you use acronyms, the first instance should include the whole word. You can then use the acronym throughout the paper. Don’t forget to include acronyms in the glossary too.
4. Opposing claims:
Though opposing claims will contradict your claims, they will actually prove to be significant in making your argument stronger. Through the use of counter-arguments, you will show the reader how your claim is stronger. These counter-arguments will be great for getting the message across since the reader may also have the same opposing claim in mind and this gives you a chance to prove why your claim has a firmer stance.
When making use of opposing arguments, keep these important things in mind:
- From a neutral point of view, which of the opposing arguments are stronger in your opinion and how will you prove that your argument is actually stronger?
- How does the evidence that you will use for your argument compare to that of opposing arguments. If there evidence sources are stronger, you can do your research and find similar forms of evidence for your argument.
- What kind of misunderstandings may readers have about your argument? Is there a way you can address those misunderstandings and prevent them from occurring in the first place? Maybe you’ll need to change up a few things to aid in clarity. Understanding your own argument from different perspectives will help you.
- Exactly how strong are the opposing arguments? Do they move you to reconsider or rethink your claim? Will others find your claim stronger than these arguments? If you feel that the opposing arguments are too good to prove weaker, you may want to reconsider the way you present your claim or may even want to change your position on it.
When presenting your argument, remember that you will be learning along the way. You’ll add and amend things as you discover more information and this will help improve the quality of your argument. There are no hard and fast rules for presenting your argument but spending some quality time doing your research will pay off and will allow you to prove that you know what you are saying.