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Process

Create literature review based on Kauffer, Geisler & Neuwirth.

Process

Create literature review based on Kauffer, Geisler & Neuwirth.

Overview

Creating arguments to persuade an audience to adopt an idea, especially arguments based on the ideas of others, is a essential skill in almost any professional endeavor, whether you are a practitioner or researcher.  Every op-ed, design, report, or research study in some way contains an argument that builds off the ideas of others.  In research, building arguments off other ideas and evidence to support those ideas is the core work.

This guide will show you how to make arguments from sources -- it's based on the work of Kaufer, D. S., Geisler, C., & Neuwirth, C. M. (1989). Arguing from sources: Exploring issues through reading and writing.  Kaufer, Geisler & Neuwirth studied how expert researchers constructed arguments and then created a book for undergraduates and graduates on how to create their own arguments, assuming no prior experience.  Unfortunately, the book is no longer in print, but we've revived it here, and tailored it a bit more for graduate students aiming to make arguments from research sources.  Nevertheless, the process is roughly the same and you should find this helpful for making other types of arguments as well (such as op-eds, long-form journalism, etc.).

The (iterative) process has the following phases:

  • Identify an issue that bothers your community
  • Search for, read, and comprehend the positions that other sources in the community have taken
  • Create a synthesis that shows how all  positions of different sources are related to each other
  • Create an analysis that puts your own spin on the debate
  • Make an original contribute (argument) that adds something new to the debate.
The phases are presented "in order" but the process is iterative.  You can start from scratch at the beginning, or jump into later stages if you've already been working on an argument.  Either way, you'll often circle back (iterate) between early and later phases.This process will prove invaluable to anyone seeking to add to an important debate.  Thanks for arguing!