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You may be surprised to hear that the word argument does not have to be written anywhere in your assignment for it to be an important part of your task In fact making an argument--expressing a point of view on a subject and supporting it with evidence--is often the aim of academic writing Your instructors may assume that you know this fact and therefore they may not explain its importance to you in class Nevertheless if your writing assignment asks you to respond to reading and discussion in class your instructor likely expects you to produce an argument in your paper Most material you learn in college is or has been debated by someone somewhere at some time Even when the material you read or hear is presented as simple information or fact it may actually be one persons interpretation of a set of information or facts In your writing instructors may call on you to question that interpretation and either defend it refute it or offer some new view of your own In writing assignments you will almost always need to do more than just present information that you have gathered or regurgitate information that was discussed in class You will need to select a point of view and provide evidence in other words use argument to shape the material and offer your interpretation of the material If you think that fact not argument rules intelligent thinking consider these examples At one point the great minds of Western Europe firmly believed the Earth was flat They had discussions about how obviously true this fact was You are able to disagree now because people who saw that argument as faulty set out to make a better argument and proved it The more recent OJ Simpson trial provides another example Both the prosecution and the defense used DNA testing but in totally different ways The prosecution brought in
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