Developing the structure of an argument
When writing an essay, firstly tell us what you are going to say (intro), then say it (main body), then tell us what you’ve said (conclusion)!
To construct a well-developed argument…
- Writing needs to be divided into logical paragraphs
- Each paragraph should have a central topic or idea
- Each paragraph should have a topic sentence to set the theme of the paragraph
- The paragraph should develop the theme (add information, explanation, examples, support)
- The theme of one paragraph should follow from the previous one
- Each paragraph should contribute to your overall argument – if it doesn’t, it shouldn’t really be there.
Example topic sentence: ‘The consequences of not moderating the intake of fast food are rather alarming.’
The paragraph will then develop:
- What are the consequences?
- Why are they alarming?
- Provide sources
Everything within the paragraph relates to the topic sentence.
Conclusions should include…
- Summary of main ideas
- Any recommendations you might want to make
- Final thoughts/deductions from your argument
- NO new information
- Return to thesis statement
- Confirmation that you have achieved the purpose of the text
Think before you begin:
- What is your position? What are your arguments? What conclusion are they leading to?
- Then start with your conclusion – if you’re not sure of your conclusion, this will weaken your whole essay.
- Often indicated by signpost words such as ‘in conclusion’, ‘in summary’, ‘therefore’, ‘finally’, ‘on this basis’.
- If you have your conclusion planned, you can make sure your points are leading to it – everything you write should be leading to your conclusion.
- If your conclusion is clear, your argument or line of reasoning is also likely to be clear.
- If you find your position changes as you do more research, you can then re-write it