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Hamersly Library

WR 115 - Daniels: Articulate Your Argument

Need a Topic?

Are you still trying to find a topic? Try the ideas on this page.

Getting Started: Articulating Your Argument

STEP ONE: What do you know; what do you need to know?

  • Have your Need to Know Inventory on hand
  • Either print it out or have it ready on the computer screen
  • Step Two will help you add to your inventory before you get started with searching

Partner Up!

STEP TWO: Talk about your topic with a real, live person.

Find a partner to work with. You should play “devil’s advocate” for each other. In other words, no matter how you actually feel about the issue, you should take the opposite side of your partner’s topic. Ask each other:

  1. Why should people care about this issue? What’s at stake? What are you hoping to prove?
  2. Why have you taken the position you have on this issue? What specifically makes you think your perspective is the right one?
  3. What about other opinions? Why don't you agree with them? Be specific.
  4. What evidence do you have to support your opinion? What evidence are you planning to find to support your opinion? Add any new ideas to your Need to Know Inventory.
  5. Give each other feedback on what would convince you to come to their side on the issue -- what evidence would you find convincing? Add any new ideas to your Need to Know Inventory.
  6. Feel free to ask other questions that help your partner think through their topic.


STEP THREE: Brainstorm keywords with your partner.

Work with your partner to help each other identify keywords and concepts related to your topics. Write these down and use them to search for websites and other sources in the next activity.



Tracy Scharn's picture
Tracy Scharn
HL 117E