Chapter 1

What is a Scientific Argument?

When we think of the word “argument,” we often envision a disagreement between two or more parties. In writing, the “argument” refers more exclusively to the case you are building and for which you have supporting information to strengthen that case. In the scientific research article, you will be constructing an argument about the legitimacy, value, and reliability of the research you have conducted. The more robust your supporting data and more well-crafted and better reasoned the interpretations of your results are, the more you will convince your audience of the acceptability of your argument.


What is a scientific argument in the context of scholarly writing?

  • a claim backed up (warranted) by evidence
  • not a heated disagreement

The concept of the argument can be applied to any part of the empirical research write-up, from the entire article or thesis or dissertation down to each individual sentence (Cargill & O’Connor, 2009)[1]. For this reason, it is important that research writers are intentional about what argument they want to make (or what they aim to convince their audience of) before they begin writing; this will shape not only each sentence, but also the text as a whole.  

  1. Cargill, M. & O'Connor, P. (2009). Writing scientific research articles: Strategies and steps. Wiley-Blackwell.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Preparing to Publish Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Huffman; Elena Cotos; and Kimberly Becker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.