BK Writing Lab

Paul DiGeorgio, Ph.D.


The argument in academic writing is the thesis statement or primary claim in addition to all of the evidence and/or supporting reasons that back up the thesis statement.

You can think of the thesis statement as similar to the main idea in a text, but usually, this main idea will be speculative and hypothetical -- in other words, a thesis statement is often subject to opinion, and while a good thesis statement should be provable in theory, it might not be possible to prove with 100% certainty. 

Consider the following example: you may read a piece of non-fiction that describes the different types of ducks in Florida. This text has a main idea (the different types of ducks in Florida), but it most likely does not have a thesis statement, unless the author is trying to prove something new or unique about those Floridian ducks.

So if an instructor asks you to write a paper with an argument, this is very different from a paper that is merely summary. You need to start by developing a reasonable thesis and then structure your paper around that thesis through the incorporation of evidence that supports your thesis. 

One of the best ways to write a paper with an argument that supports the thesis statement is to use an outline. You also might consider reviewing the basic laws of deductive reasoning.


If you have any questions, send us an email at bkwritinglab@bishopkennyhs.org!


Image Credit: Argument by A M from the Noun Project

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