How to Write Effective Standpoints
A. Any standpoint must first of all be S.O.D:
A good standpoint limits the scope of
the subject to the length, purpose and audience of the argument. Be as specific as possible. Your
standpoint must be narrow enough that your topic can be discussed fully in
the space available.
standpoint is not a topic sentence, a title or a summary; rather, you must
make a deniable assertion. You are arguing an idea that someone else might
A standpoint must be unified; that is, it
expresses only one idea (for example, you do not want to write about both the
age and the composition of the moon unless you can find a way to connect the two
logically into one coherent idea—the fact that they both have to do with
the moon is too weak a connection).
standpoint must be intended for a
specific audience. A standpoint written for no specific audience (or for a
"universal audience," which is the same thing) is a bad standpoint.
F. A good standpoint is
a title (
an announcement ("
paper I will discuss the war in Darfur."),
an unquestioned fact
is located in Sudan."),
or an unanswered question (
can we do to help out the innocent victims of the terrible genocide in
G. The biggest error most beginning scholarly
writers commit is to create a standpoint that is too broad (and would take
a large book--or an entire career--to write about). Their greatest fear is
narrowing their subject too much and not having enough to write on. This is
H. Your purpose in scholarly writing is
normally not to write a general introduction
"for dummies®" to a
broad field of knowledge (e.g., smoking, health care, astronomy, auto
maintenance). Nor is it just to prove you read the assignment or did the
research, either. Rather, it is to for you to do an intensely focused, in-depth study of one tiny bit of
knowledge, where you can learn just about everything there is to know about the
question and become
the expert on that tiny subject. Then you write the paper as an expert
writing to other experts.
I. In many forms of scholarly writing your text begins with
a hard-hitting standpoint. In others, the standpoint is placed at the
end of the introduction. Ask your professor which is right for your particular
writing situation and for your specific audience.
O.W. Rev 1/09
|For educational purposes only.