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Research Process

How to efficiently and effectively navigate the research process

What is a scholarly argument?

You've watched movies in which attorneys argue their case to a jury. When you write your research paper, pretend you are "arguing" your position on your topic before a court (Broskoske, 2007).

  • Attorneys debate whether a defendant committed a crime or caused an accident. Similarly, your position must be debatable, not an easily established statement or set of facts (Reinking & von der Osten, 2014). 

  • You will support your position with evidence (Broskoske, 2007). Instead of witnesses and exhibits, you will use information from journal articles, books, and government documents.

Unlike most trials, however, scholarly arguments often have multiple positions. You will respond to these other positions with evidence.

Most importantly, don't just copy what others have said. Include your own "take" or interpretation or apply what you learned to a new situation. By doing this, you add to this "conversation" among scholars, researchers, or professionals.

Broskoske, S.L. (2007). Prove your case: A new approach to teaching research papers. College
     Teaching, 55(1), 31-32.

Reinking, J.A. & von der Osten, R. (2014). Strategies for successful writing: A rhetoric, research
     guide, reader, and handbook
(10th ed.). Pearson.


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