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Reading an Argumentative Scholarly Article: Home

What is an Argumentative Article?

Debate Logo An argumentative scholarly article takes a position on a topic and defends it through extensive research of existing literature.  These articles usually assess primary sources like historical documents, works of literature, data, or previously conducted experiments. 

Structure of Article

Abstract- Useful for Article Selection

  • Provides a brief summary of the article.
  • Included in it are the topic and purpose of the article, the author's stance, and their conclusion. 

Introduction-  Article selection and understanding what the article is about.

  • What is included may vary a bit. May include:
    • Article's purpose 
    • What information they are trying to find out 
    • Sometimes what is already known on the topic.


  • Majority of the paper.  Here you will find:
    • support of the author's claims
    • the majority of the assessment
    • specific evidence defending their position on the topic.

Conclusion- Understanding the author's opinion and the subject

  • restate the author's stance on the subject
  • show how their particular argument fits into the existing literature
  • sometimes propose new ideas for further research or thought.

References/Works Cited/Bibliography- Finding similar resources, checking the author's claims.

  • At the end of any scholarly article will be a section entitled bibliography or works cited. In this you will find references to all of the sources and data that the author used to prove their point.

How to Read an Argumentative Article

General advice

  • Plan to read the article more than once.
  • Don't read it all the way through in one sitting, read strategically first.
  • Take notes throughout, highlighting arguments and evidence.

1. Study the article first, identifying major parts and structure.  This will give you a sense of the article's purpose and topic.

2. Read the abstract, if provided, to get a sense of what the article intends to argue.

3. Read the introduction, it will place this article in context of previous research as well as give you a sense of how the author's expanding research in this area.  Identify the author's argument.

4. Read the conclusion to see what further implications the author sees for this research and opportunities for further research.

5. Then turn your attention to the body of the article.  Start by reading the topic sentences for each paragraph of the body.  This will give you a sense of the different components that demonstrate the author's points.

6. Then read the body paragraphs more thoroughly, look for the evidence the author uses to support their argument.


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