When making a statement in an essay, for example: ''Science is based to much on trust''. How much do you have to argument for/counter argument before the statement is adequately supported? Is there even a guideline for this?

  • Where do you plan to publish your essay? It's a big difference between a casual piece published on a personal all-subjects blog, and a more formal piece arguing the same points in a peer-reviewed journal. I get the feeling that your intended use is somewhere in between those two, but it might help guide answers if you can specify where on that scale your intended use lies. – user Dec 14 '17 at 14:19
  • It's a school assignment, IB tok-essay. It asks students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know. And as i see it you could argument and counter-argument into infinity. Though it's high-school level, i'd like to know how it's ''supposed to be done'' in feks. a journal – Daniel G. Dec 14 '17 at 15:29
  • "Guidelines", as you ask, are generally provided by who commissions the article, or by the publisher. For instance, each academic journal has explicit guidelines for authors on how to cite sources. A teacher should provide similar guidelines to students when assigning projects (my experience: they almost never did) – FraEnrico Dec 15 '17 at 7:55

When you make a statement like "science is based too much on trust," explain why you think that is true, ideally with reference to a specific example in a trusted source, that you cite. You've provided "adequate support" when someone else who examines your evidence could reasonably be expected to reach your same conclusion.

Science is based too much on trust, as shown by the 2005 scandal where the results in Yeah! Science... magazine, indicating the successful achievement of cold fusion were shown to have been deliberately faked up by...

NOTE: Example entirely made up.

It doesn't mean you can't have an opinion, or that you're not making subjective judgement calls, it's that they are based in something demonstrably connected to the real world, not just your own hunches and prejudices. I can't tell you how often I've been entirely and utterly convinced something is true or valid until researching it.

Despite being years beyond my school days, it's only since I started posting regularly on StackExchange that I really mastered this important skill. So picturing you're crafting an answer that meets the standards here might be a helpful trick! Here's an example of a potentially controversial, but research-supported answer of mine on another SE. Note that there's plenty of my own opinions in it, but that I've provided solid, objective support for my line of reasoning. Not everyone who reads it will agree, but they can evaluate it by reference to the same pool of evidence.


That statement definitely needs support. At a minimum it needs some explanation, illustration or example to show what you mean. So it depends on how important it is to the entire work.

If it is worth a short paragraph then it needs a short example that is related to the topic, such as mentioning the Piltdown Man that fooled scientists for two generations, or some other embarrassing hoax or incident of adademic dishonesty. You can Google these.

On the other extreme, that statement has the potential to grow into a book with many chapter-length examples covering diverse areas of science. Like a basketball-size growth on a tiny gland, it could consume and overpower any paper that was supposed to be its container.

Scientists have had an especially difficult time with negative results, when they supposedly disprove a hypothesis.

They sometimes interpret the negative result more broadly than their data support and thereby unknowingly throw out a broad class of potential hypotheses. The first step of the scientific method, forming a hypothesis, is actually an inventive step. But invention can not always be forced. By definition, inventions are non-obvious. They come randomly and not always to those that one would expect. Often, scientists should fine tune or even replace their failed hypothesis and try again. Their failure to do so may be a lack of invention or an error of logic, but other scientists trust the conclusions. That trust is how this connects to your thesis statement.

This statement of mine needs support too, but I can't support it here in a brief answer. I'm working on publishing several scientific papers to do just that and I don't know yet if even that will be enough.

By the way, your statement should read "too much," not "to much." Good luck on your paper.

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