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The purpose of this guide is to provide you with information on some elements that go into researching and writing arts and humanities papers and theses. Help with the Writing Process:. If you need help with the process of writing, such as composition, grammar, or syntax, please consult with the USC Dornsife college Writing Center. The Center offers a variety of assistance to help students at any stage of the writing process.
Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic.
This handout will define what an argument is and explain why you need one in most of your academic essays. In fact, making an argument—expressing a point of view on a subject and supporting it with evidence—is often the aim of academic writing. Your instructors may assume that you know this and thus may not explain the importance of arguments in class. Most material you learn in college is or has been debated by someone, somewhere, at some time. Instructors may call on you to examine that interpretation and defend it, refute it, or offer some new view of your own.