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