Research Papers



















































Rebutting Your Opponents Arguments

Rebutting an opponent’s argument is a handy way to write your introduction. We might even call it the “Introduction Formula.”

Study the following examples:

Some people believe that the U.S. is winning the war in Afghanistan. However, the truth is that U.S. troops are not making any progress toward their primary objective. The U.S. is failing to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.

Some people think that global warming is not a serious problem. However, the truth is that rising temperatures could have many far-reaching consequences. In fact, global warming is the preeminent threat to humanity and the planet.

Did you figure it out?

  1. Your first sentence concedes the fact that “some people” do not agree with your thesis; in fact, they believe the opposite of your thesis (your antithesis).


  1. Your second sentence is a transition. You warn the reader not to be misled: You explain that these ignorant people are wrong, and that you are going to tell the reader the truth. You also suggest what the truth might be; you’re preparing the reader for your thesis. 
  1. Your third sentence is your thesis statement—a statement that is roughly opposite to what “some people” believe in sentence one.


Of course, no formula will spare you the trouble of thinking. You still have to massage the sentences until they flow well together. But if you feel that this “formula” is useful, go ahead and use it.

And don’t be afraid to flesh out your introduction beyond the bare bones, three-sentence pattern described above. Here is another example. This is actually the first paragraph of the sample country report I wrote for this handbook.

Swaziland, near the southern tip of Africa, might sound like a wonderful place to visit on vacation. Certainly, if you look at a Swazi brochure, the scenery looks beautiful, and the people, dressed in exotic costumes, appear to be quite friendly. But travelers should not be fooled. Swaziland is a poor, disease-ridden country, full of dangers for the unsuspecting traveler. Swaziland is a terrible vacation destination.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.