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Hamersly Library

WR 122 - 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?

  • Make a list of what you already know about your topic: concepts, people, organization, etc.
  • Now think what you might need to find to round out your understanding of your topic. Write these down so you can keep track of progress on them.

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?
  5. Give each other feedback on what would convince you to come to their side on the issue -- what evidence would you find convincing?
  6. Feel free to ask other questions that help your partner think through their topic.

This process should help you focus your ideas and think about your audience.


Tracy Scharn's picture
Tracy Scharn
HL 117E