Slide – Structuring Arguments

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Structuring Arguments #4/5 Putting Ideas and Evidence Together

Your primary focus should be in the argument. Even if it’s a discussion or explanation, you’re still constructing an argument, even if your argument is what you’re explaining.
Saying that weight lifting, in this case, you’re explaining that it is one of the things that makes you fit. It is to back up your evidence. Don’t use your evidence as to your first and foremost. Don’t focus immediately on writing a whole heap of evidence down because again, evidence without anything to support is useless. It’s like having a murder scene and having all these clues and saying, “Well, no one was murdered.”
So if you’re saying that, if you’ve got no argument, then there’s no point having evidence because the evidence will ultimately mean nothing. So you need to not only use evidence then, but you need to make so it is meaningful. So you’ve got evidence then that actually has some sort of use.
For instance, OK, we’re going to say weightlifting improves cardiovascular strength. It improves the heart. That’s evidence to support that idea that weightlifting helps make you fit. But how? Well, it is essential for one to become fit. So to have a healthy heart means that someone is likely to be healthier.

Structuring Arguments #5/5 Writing a Cohesive Essay

Cohesion is another thing that’s really important when you’re structuring your argument and it’s putting everything together, which is without it, your argument is not going to make a lot of sense.
The amount of effort that you put in will be ultimately wasted. So what I mean by cohesion is everything fits together perfectly. It’s like there are no loose ends. It’s all very polished, very neat and tidy. Everything goes from one to the next. It doesn’t jump around all over the place.
It ensures that your argument also is a little bit airtight. So particularly one of the problems, if you jump around a bit, is that often when that happens, is students will contradict things that they say, which means that they will say one thing and then they will say something else a little bit later on.
If you do that, one of the problems is it weakens your argument. So if you keep it cohesive, as you keep it in one idea to the next, to the next, to the next and they sort of flow together naturally, almost seamlessly, then what you have is you have something which flows a lot better, reads a lot better but also gets you a better mark. You can write it as simple as you want. You don’t have to overcomplicate it to make it cohesive. You don’t have to use a great deal of expansive vocabulary or any sort of really profound ideas in order to make an essay cohesive. You just have to stick to the basics.
Well, let’s just go for the steps of basically what you need to do first. First, you need to find some common links between each of your arguments. So work out how the three ideas you have or two or however many you’ve got, which things sort of go together. So is there something which one will go directly to the next or if you make one point for one argument, will it go to one point in another argument? Can you make the jump between the two of them?
Put them in an order which makes the jump from one to the next thing appear seamless. So as I said before, it’s something – it just moves along without jumping. So you don’t suddenly go “meanwhile” or a completely different train of thought from what you had previously because it makes it – it jars it a bit. It makes it a bit disjointed and it does ultimately have an effect on what amount of strength you have in your argument but also it doesn’t make it quite as convincing as what if it just appears a bit more seamless.
Finally, put your strongest point first. Let your other points unravel off it. So even though you’re trying to put it in an order which they will flow together, you still need to focus on having your best point first even if it imbalances the flow a little bit. At least if you’ve got your strongest point first, then you’ve got your most convincing point first and then you can use your arguments based off that to improve it, develop it and sell on.
But making sure of course that you’re answering a question. Otherwise, that’s about it for really structuring an argument in your essay. I hope this really does help because this is one of the most common questions I get asked is how to structure an essay and particularly it’s one of those things that takes a long time to get right. So it takes a lot of practice and it takes a lot of thought and careful planning
Now as I said before, the more you do it, the quicker it takes to do it. I can do it in about a minute or so. When I write an essay for something or other, whatever it is, I can do it roughly in about a minute and that’s just for practice and for knowing what to do and the more you do that, the easier it is to have a very quick plan in your head to be able to work out what all the things you’re going to go into and then put it all together like that.
But that’s it. There’s nothing else to tell. I will see you next time.