Session 4

Academic Writing 3 – The language of argument

It's time for Academic Writing – the course that gives you the tools you need to become an effective writer in your studies. In the area of academic writing we're looking at this time, it's super-important to get your words right; we're looking at the language of argument!

Sessions in this unit

Session 4 score

0 / 8

  • 0 / 4
    Activity 1
  • 0 / 4
    Activity 2

Activity 2

Spot the better argument

We've looked at the elements of a strong argument. You can also apply these principles when looking at the arguments of others.

Try the activity

How would you compare these two paragraphs taken from assignments on diet and healthcare? Which is a better argument? To help you spot the differences, we've numbered the sentences in each paragraph. You can check your answers – in an activity – later on this page.

Paragraph A

1) UK health officials believe we should cut 300 calories from our diets each day. 2) Eating too many calories is known to cause obesity. 3) One in three children leave school overweight, according to UK health officials.

Paragraph B

1) Cutting calories from our daily diets is the best way to fight obesity. 2) New research shows we are eating between 200-300 calories more than our bodies need each day (Public Health England, 2015). 3) Consuming more calories than we need is a prime cause of obesity. 4) Some have argued that doing more physical exercise is the most effective way of fighting obesity. 5) However, studies have shown that while exercise is effective at improving overall fitness, dietary changes account for more significant weight loss (Carroll, 2015).

To do

Analyse these paragraphs and decide which has the better academic argument.

Paragraph A or B?

4 Questions

Check which paragraph has the better academic argument by sorting these features according to which paragraph has them

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

Paragraph A or B?

4 Questions

Check which paragraph has the better academic argument by sorting these features according to which paragraph has them

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

Review

Now you've had a good look at key concepts relating to the language of argument, let's review what we've learned so far:

  • The claim is where you where you make your main point – it's a key part of academic argument. If there's no claim, there's no argument.
  • You need to support your claim with evidence. We are talking about opinions here, not facts – good evidence backs up the points you make.
  • Justification is where you explain why the evidence supports the claim – sometimes this can be left out if it's obvious or a widely held belief.
  • Claim, evidence and justification all combine to produce a clear argument.
  • Counter-arguments are important. If you include them in your writing it shows that you have considered more than one side of an argument.
  • Tell your reader your limitations. This doesn't mean that your writing is lower quality but actually helps the reader understand your context better.

Find out more

Now you know the concepts, it's time to practice words and phrases included in claims, evidence, justifications, counter-arguments and limitations.You'll also take a look at useful hedging language to make balanced arguments – just click on Downloads to find a free pdf with more activities to practise your language of argument. Try the links below for more Go The Distance!

Where next

Digital Literacy image link 3  GTD Academic Writing index link  OU AW image link 3

Session Vocabulary

  • Find out more about distance learning – visit our partner,The OU

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    claim
    the point you are making

    justification
    the logical thinking that explains why the evidence supports the claim

    counter-arguments
    where you anticipate potential rejections of your argument

    evidence
    the data or information you use to support your claim