Aspects of a Good Argument

This page was adapted from the website “”

A thesis, or argument, has to have certain aspects in order to be considered a good piece of scholarship. There exists an academic standard to be met, and the following list is comprised of those aspects to be included in any good argument:

(1) Evidence for claims in the form of critical readings and scholarship

  • žEvidence must be compelling and appropriate
  • A good example of compelling and appropriate evidence: If I am writing a paper about American eating habits, using books written by food experts where they analyze statistics of food sales would be both compelling and appropriate. A bad example would be using a blog that discusses how horrible eating red meat is. Such a blog would not be compelling nor appropriate.

(2) Offers counter-arguments[i] where appropriate; these will strengthen your argument when done well.

  • Placing counter-arguments in your paper is not required, although it will make it better when you can acknowledge the opposing viewpoint and refute it with supporting evidence.

(3) Reminds the reader why the writer’s perspective is relevant and superior to the opposite perspective. 

  • Remember; your paper is essentially an argument. Within the context of your paper, your point is the most important point to be made. If the reader objects, they can write their own paper to counter yours.

(4) Maintains objectivity. The writer does not let emotion or personal belief act as his or her only evidence.

  • I.e., “Murder is bad because the Bible says so.” You may agree with the Bible, but that is a very personal and emotional conviction. By bringing in secular or non-religious sources, a better, more solid argument can be built.
  • “Murder is wrong because it is against the law, the death of a person will hurt their loved ones and cause them intense suffering and emotional pain, society would lose the innovative ideas and labor of people killed prematurely, and if the person killed had young children, their upbringing will be affected and may cause more burdens on society.”

The example above of why murder is wrong, can now be supported by concrete evidence that does not involve personal feelings, but instead the values that society has decided are important and must be upheld. Statistics, laws and other primary sources like the journals of the loved ones of murder victims can all be used as supporting, compelling and appropriate evidence.

Back to Thesis Creation

Back to Constructing Your Argument