I’m writing a research paper on why industrialized farming does more
harm than good. But I keep running into articles that argue the
opposite. Should I just ignore these sources, and focus on the ones
that affirm my thesis? Or does this mean my argument is wrong and I
should just start over?
Dear One-Sided Magee,
There are two sides to the argument in almost any analytical essay. You don’t need to change your thesis just because some evidence contradicts it. In fact, if your thesis was completely undisputed, it wouldn’t make for a very good paper. You just need to know how to address the other side of the argument.
Don’t leave out the information that goes against your thesis. Leaving out the other side will weaken your argument, because part of proving your point involves responding to critics.
Part of your paper should outline the basic stance of opponents of industrialized farming. Next, you should include your own response to this stance. This response should be in part a critique of what you deem to be the weaknesses of the argument, but it should not disparage every claim made by your opposition. Instead, you should try your best to be fair. You can admit that industrialized farming has some benefits while still maintaining that it does more harm than good.