Informed argument is one of the most important features of academic writing. When you start writing your academic paper, first thing you naturally think of is what your subject will be and what you know on the subject. You should be aware that different writing assignments require different level of your knowledge on the topic. For instance, in high school you probably wrote brief papers in response to viewing some movies, say Guy Ritchie’s Revolver. This kind of paper does not require from you to master important cinema-related terms, analyze other author’s works, or to confirm you thoughts with critic’s arguments. However, if you are to write academic paper on the firm, you should learn more on your topic. You have to know certain cinematographic terms to explain Ritchie’s techniques. Also, you would find useful getting familiar with other Ritchie’s films to understand his approach and his favorite themes. Furthermore, if you write this review in upper-level film class, you should be aware of different critical views on Guy Ritchie, his films, and on films in general, so that you can insert you argument using cinema-related vocabulary. So, when you prepare to write academic paper, ask yourself following questions:
Can I answer questions who, what, when, where, why and how in my research? What do I know about the context of my topic? What historical or cultural events I’m familiar with that can help my understand the topic? Does my topic belong to any category or genre of research topics? What do I know about this category or genre?
If I had to summarize my knowledge on this topic, what points could I focus on? What seems less important in information that I know? Why do I think so?
What do I know on the topic that could help my reader understand the whole issue in new ways?
What do I need to know? How can I learn it? As you work on the questions presented above, you will gradually discover that you are moving beyond knowing and learning things about your topic and start thinking of certain ideas. Your thinking about your topic is aimed to produce a fresh observation. As you are a college student, it is no more enough to summarize what is already known and discussed on the subject. You have to produce your own ideas and thus add your contribution into conversation. However, you should understand that “adding your own ideas” does not imply that you should insert your personal association, reactions or experiences into the text. We are creating informed argument here, and for it to be academic, you must be aware that your input should be analytical rather then personal. In other words, your writing must demonstrate that your reactions, associations, and experiences related to text are framed in critical perspective rather then personal one.