Indicate your own interpretation, analysis, critique, of the topic: this is where you state your own major claim/argument on the topic.
Writing the Argument and Deepening the Outline
Based on your to-do list and brainstorm, speculate on your major argument/claim for this paper. Your major claim should be a few sentences. Your major claim must be:
specific: something that is narrow and focused; not vague or broad
arguable: a statement that can spark debate and that can be proved with evidence; not a statement of fact, opinion, or a description
significant: something that matters in an academic context; something that has stakes
complex: makes connections; takes time to develop and prove
Turn your major claim/argument into a full paragraph. This paragraph is your introduction that states your central purpose, develops towards the major claim of the
paper, and defines the specific direction your paper will take. Your major claim paragraph should follow this formula:
1-2 sentences: Establish your specific topic. (Do NOT make broad claims about “all time,” “all history,” “all people,” “all humans,” or “all cultures”)
1-2 sentences: Narrow your focus and establish what is up for debate about this topic: why are you debating this topic? Explain what the controversy, intervention,
debate or conversation is all about.
2-3 sentences: Indicate your own interpretation, analysis, critique, of the topic: this is where you state your own major claim/argument on the topic.
(3) Brainstorm what evidence and analysis you will use to support and prove your major claim. Essentially, each one of the rows below can become its own paragraph in
your paper. Use as many pieces of evidence as you need to fully and substantially prove your claim.
Specific evidence to prove the claim:
-Summary, paraphrase, and direct quotes from your sources
-Specific statistics, numbers, dates, etc.
-Specific analysis from yours sources Analysis of the evidence:
-What does this evidence show or prove?
-What does this evidence mean? How does this evidence work?
-How do you want your reader to understand or interpret this piece of evidence?
-Why does this evidence matter?
-How does the evidence prove the claim?
(4) Review and revise your outline.
Is your argument specific, complex, arguable, and significant?
Does your argument have stakes? Do you address the “so what?” of your argument?
Is your argument supported by evidence from your sources?
Are you analyzing your sources to prove your argument?
Does your argument complicate or enhance our understanding of justice?