Research paper writing tutorial: providing supporting arguments

When instructors grade research papers, their biggest complaint is about support for the argument that is presented in the claim. Students freely offer their opinions, but they do not give solid support to the main argument as well as to supporting argument they make later in the research paper. The entire idea behind a research paper is to find and share research that will support an opinion. In the world of education, student opinions are not considered valid until those opinions are supported by the knowledge of experts. Without valid support, students fail their research papers, which can be an expensive mistake during your college years.

Supporting Paragraphs Defend the Claim

In order to successfully complete a research paper, it is vital to include supporting arguments for your main argument. In order to do this, you need to have a claim that can be supported by smaller arguments and with researched, proven facts. Your claim should be presented in the introductory section of your paper. Then, each supporting paragraph should contain an arguable topic sentence that is directly related to the claim in the introduction. Those topic sentences are the supporting arguments that are directly used to prove the claim.

Paragraphs as Mini Research Papers

While every part of the research paper is important, the supporting paragraphs - or body paragraphs - are vitally important. These paragraphs work like little mini-research papers as each paragraph includes the facts that support the topic sentences which in turn support the claim. The facts you use should be borrowed from legitimate sources. Each source should be properly cited, too. Without proper citations, you are technically plagiarizing, even if you are not trying to copy.

Cite Your Sources

Along with the sharing facts and citing the facts, you should also be sure to explain the purpose of including those facts in the body paragraphs. If you do not explain the purpose of the facts, then the majority of your readers will not know what you are trying to prove by including them in your paper. Many writers will follow the paragraph formatting that includes presenting the point you are going to defend. Then, you begin to defend with an example and follow it with an explanation. You repeat the example and explanation at least two more times. The paragraph should then end with a link that refers back to the topic sentence as well as the original claim - since that is really what you are trying to prove.