Argument at UC Berkeley

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Field: History
Interviewee: Professor Robert Cohen

“You need to provide enough context to place your evidence. Your whole argument is based around evidence, so evidence is very important. I try to make my writing accessible, lack jargon, and be well paced. You don’t conclude the results before the experiment is finished. You need to accept the complexity of research. There are contradictions in history. You have to acknowledge them.”

Recommended Model: There’s a Footnote to History!

Field: History
Interviewee: Professor Rebecca Herman

“In my discipline, a persuasive argument must do a couple of things: 1) Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the existing consensus on the topic that the author seeks to contribute to 2) Clearly articulate what the author’s argument will contribute to or change about the existing consensus (that is, its significance in the historiography) and 3) Offer original primary source research and conceptually sound analysis of that research in order to support the argument.”