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ENG 111: College Writing (Sp '20): Develop Your Argument

Background Information

  • Start thinking about your topic
  • See the big picture
  • Identify major issues
  • Discover something that interests you

Find Background Information: 

Credo Reference

Opposing Viewpoints

Narrowing a Broad Topic

Questions to Consider:

Ask yourself open-ended questions to focus your topic. Using the five W's can help:
  • Who: demographic focus (gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status)
  • What: aspects, details   
  • Where: geographic location
  • When: either present day or a particular time period in the past
  • Why/How/So What!: importance, impact (societal, individual)


Keep in Mind:

You don't have to answer all of the questions. Some might not apply or be helpful.

Arriving at an Argument

Broad Topic Sub-Topic Narrowed Topic Argument
Television & Violence Effects of television violence on behavior Effects of television violence on children's behavior Children exposed to television violence are likely to use violence to solve conflicts with other children.
Television & Body Image Effects of television on body image and self-esteem Effects of television on the body image and self-esteem of teenage girls Beauty and body standards promoted on television contribute to eating disorders in teenage girls.

Keep in Mind:

Your argument might evolve and change as you do your research.