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Delectus - Scientific Journal, Inicc-Perú - [ISSN: 2663-1148]




Vol. 6 No. 1 (2023): January-June [Edit closure: 31/01/2023]

RECEIVED: 27/10/2022 | ACCEPTED: 15/12/2023 | PUBLISHED: 31/01/2023

Suggested quote (APA, seventh edition)

Blanco Rosado, L. A., & Acosta Faneite, S. F. (2023). Argumentation in research papers: a scientific contribution to academic discourse. Delectus, 6(1), 29-38.

Argumentation in research papers: a scientific contribution to academic discourse

Lisander Antonio Blanco Rosado

University of Pamplona, Colombia

Savier Fernando Acosta Faneite

University of Zulia. Maracaibo, Venezuela

This article was the product of a research whose main focus was to present an analysis of how argumentation in research papers can contribute to improving academic discourse. Therefore, its objective was to describe the discursive procedures and the linguistic norms of discourse in research papers, not referring to the use of terminologies but to the coherence of the message. In order to support and answer the same, a methodology established in the post-positivist paradigm with a qualitative, interpretative approach was used, under the procedures of a documentary research. For this purpose, digital documents were consulted, not older than 8 years, in order to renew the theoretical repertoire of the thematic studied, an observation guide was designed as an instrument, summarizing the information according to the researchers' criteria, taking into account their perspectives. The study concludes that argumentation is the use of an intellectual discourse that serves to contribute new knowledge on already existing theories or to develop a new one on already studied or similar topics; which indicates that it goes beyond the exposition of ideas, without the existence of proven reasons that testify to this.

Keywords: argumentation, research paper, academic discourse, methodology, research.

Currently, the relevance of the study of social phenomena is undeniable, especially in the area of higher education. From there, it became imperative to conduct an analysis on the syntax of the discourse used in scientific works; highlighting the peculiarities of certain social and professional discourses, among others, as part of training in future professionals (Moreno, et al., 2021).

This reveals the need to look reflectively in formal educational systems, the procedures employed academically in the training of researchers because students require to have the ability for discursive coherence, so that they write their ideas about any finding or theory; setting a reasonable position to the information consulted, which is essential within the scientific community. Emphasizing that social variations and the same dynamics of technological and scientific advances induce the development of new theories to explain social demands and educational phenomena. However, the new information that emerges to explain such phenomena must be presented using technical, understandable and simple language (Tuzinkievicz et al., 2018).

It is worth noting that as a structural axis of the theme addressed in this study, the importance of research work in the scientific, social and even educational field is exposed. Therefore, the urgency of training students to develop research-scientific competences, not only through the collection of information but also through the explosion of ideas about the phenomena studied; this denotes the importance of training them academically to achieve skills and abilities (communicative) (Rodenas-Seytuque., 2022).

For this reason, this study sought to describe and explain the discursive procedures and the linguistic norms of discourse in research papers. This study does not refer to the use of terminologies but to the coherence of the message, which makes it important to analyze the linguistic foundation of the text and the contributions of the new rhetoric.

In this order of ideas, it is necessary to establish a conceptualization of argumentation, letting it be seen as the explosion of ideas that come to reinforce an existing theory or to differ from it. However, when debating or refuting a theory it is necessary to do so from a reflective and reasonable point of view, so that it serves to underpin or support through evidence or hypotheses the central idea; also, it can be conceived as those explicit and succinct reasons expressed in order to convince readers about the position taken by the researcher (Villarroel et al., 2019).     
From this perspective, argumentation has among its functions: to sustain; which entails finding causes, evidence or gnosis that demonstrate a theory or idea; and to evaluate, its purpose in measurement and especially when examining the existing alternatives to fix a position (of Lima, 2021). Likewise, it is imperative to emphasize that information or knowledge are not the object of debate; however, they are necessary to incorporate them as part of the discussion. Now, theories and concepts can be the focus of questioning, since they are ideas that imply contradiction and discursive conflict between the diversity of ideas related to the same subject (Loría, 2020).

In this regard, it is necessary to take into account that the argumentation in research papers cannot be a shuffling of ideas without scientific support or controversial by theories alluding to the phenomenon treated, or discussions without a real basis that justifies the ideas put forward. Hence, arguing in research papers is a task of reasoning and reflection based on other realities to extract new approaches that are viable and provide relevant information to the field of scientific knowledge (Noemi and Rossel, 2017).

From a general aspect, the researcher has the obligation to read and reread to unearth the main ideas, interpret them and explain them; setting a position in favor or against. But first he must take into account other postulates that support the assumed position, even if only superficially, in this way, when he finds a coinciding point he must develop it coherently and explicitly (Leal, 2017).

According to León (2020), argumentation is the mechanism used to articulate thought with expression through oral or written language. When referring to argumentation as part of a language or coherent communicative processes, the discourse must be worked through the use of signs and symbols of language in its modalities (oral - written). In this sense, argumentation is represented by two essential foundations. On the one hand, a phonological foundation, which alludes to a form of internal language of limited scope. On the other hand, a dialogic foundation when it has a massive scope. Likewise, in order to be able to argue in research works, a knowledge background is required to be able to establish a pertinent position. All this with the intention of putting into practice the knowledge acquired, which will facilitate the expression of the message (González, et al., 2016).  This reveals that in the writing of a research paper it is not enough to cite authors who refer to the phenomenon, but to confront theories, since it is essential to examine the object of study from various criteria (Villanueva & Prieto, 2020).

From this approach it is deduced, then, that when arguing it is evident in the need to overcome some limitations of thought; figuring as main the weaknesses of the researchers to go dilating a meaningful and coherent discourse where ideas are intermingled, but with logical sense, that affirm some ideas or differ from others. There will then be more certain statements than others, which becomes a determining factor for research work, since it establishes the essential means to access the truth, and the truth is nothing more than a well-argued idea. Thanks to argumentation, a theory or a hypothesis can be verified (de Lima, 2021). Following this approach, argumentation should be observed and studied from the linguistic-communicative disciplines and epistemic gnoseology, as part of the scientific foundation (Tuzinkievicz et al., 2018). By virtue of this, we have that the argumentation in research works starts from methods of literary review with the purpose of finding diversity of criteria regarding a thematic. Thus, scientific thinking does not always resemble common sense and is not always obvious, but is the work product of the cognitive-intellectual skills of the communication process in which knowledge is created (Pacherres, et al., 2021), This reinforces the idea that the power of cognitive linguistics reasoning lies in the phenomena, evidence and explanations that influence the thinking of researchers (Sanchez, 2022).

In the same line of thought, reasoning is considered the ability to propose a topic based on theoretical statements in the form of empirical hypotheses derived from other studies or other scientific literature. Villanueva & Prieto (2020), express a more specific definition where they explain that argumentation in research works is the product of documentary review where the author must necessarily interpret it, in the first instance and then confront it with his own opinion, however, his criterion (opinion) cannot be ambiguous or be exposed without a pragmatic - reasonable foundation.

On the other hand, the argumentation harbors a series of steps that are linked to each other; first, it is necessary to establish the objectives pursued within the discourse; second, to select the theories to be confronted; third, to interpret them in the light of the personal criteria of the exponent or researcher and of other theoretical postulates. All this while following the rhetorical guidelines of any communicative process, so that the language and the message are convincing for the reader (Leal, 2017).

Now, if it is considered that through argumentation it intends to create a new theory or enhance an existing one, then, argumentation, seen from this perspective plays a fundamental role in research works, since they are not only constituted to select the corresponding theories, but to make a new contribution of the existing ones, that is, from a new point of view.

From this point of view, scientific reasoning is a procedure that corresponds to the practical skills and abilities, as well as the cognitive and communicative ones, necessary for the development, evaluation and application of science to demonstrate this approach. Villarroel et al. (2019) refer that argumentation is the result of the application of skills and competences acquired in the process of professional and/or academic training.

In reference to this, Loría (2020), affirms that, in scientific argumentation, four components are recognized: the theoretical, alludes to the need to start from an epistemic reference that serves to make an idea clear or incorporate new elements; the logical, reveals a broad and complex syntactic structure, which can be formalized through reasonable explanations: The third component, represented by rhetoric, is where argumentation gains strength, since it seeks to ensure that the discourse persuades or finds a place from a position of truthfulness in those who receive the message. Finally, pragmatics, which alludes to the context in which the message is exposed, this does not mean that the words lose meaning depending on the place or time where they are exposed, but it is notorious that it influences the message. 

In relation to the previous points, it can be deduced that argumentation consists of the demonstration of an idea or theory by means of an exhaustive analysis that allows the identification of the units of a set and the relationships that determine and define them (theories).  This means that argumentation has to be the result of intellectual processes, where deep and objective observation, reasoning, reflection, analysis, compression, and finally the explosion of new ideas are involved.

Now, the idea of arguing in research works should not necessarily allude to the refutation of ideas, it can also serve to deepen in accordance with the theory and add new elements. In this sense, Veytia, (2021), points out the importance of argumentation for research work, since it refers to the position of the researcher with respect to the subject matter, considering and substantiating his point of view, i.e., the researcher establishes a position on some theories, but not using logic or common sense, for which he must rely on data or records that confirm his position or argument.

It is also clear that argumentation is a form of reasoning; conclusion, whose main objective is to convince, change the thoughts, attitudes, actions and decisions of the interlocutor (Fernández, 2020). It is worth mentioning that, at present, very brief forms of argumentation with low syntactic, semantic and pragmatic content are observed, where ideas are presented from the student-researcher's criteria, without basing their discourse on proven facts and theories.

The arguments of research papers are those that support ideas with reasons, presenting evidence to justify the ideas put forward (Fernández, 2020). Therefore, it has a significant connotation in research papers, since the writing of a research paper at the university level, above all, it must transcend to acquire skills that allow to enter the scientific method and make contributions that contribute to the explanation and perhaps to the solution of social problems. The world cannot be saved with arguments, but new hypotheses can be constructed that lead to the explanation of the object of study. In this way, new contributions arise that enrich the explanatory themes of social problems (León, 2020).

In this sense, the student researcher must recognize that there are several types of arguments and these must be used according to the rhythm and intentionality of the discourse; arguments cannot be used indiscriminately, since this would detract from the coherence of the dissertation. Emphasizing that arguments are not always based on debating (Loría, 2020). From this perspective, in the development of an exposition of ideas at an academic-scientific level, arguments have a double directionality, the first consists of investigating and analyzing; the second, defending one's own ideas by explaining them with solid reasons.

On the other hand, when referring to the types of arguments, it is necessary to classify the ideas and terminologies used in those theories to be debated or supported, because, if the type of argumentation is not used, meaning arguments, not connectors for the ideas, there is a risk of providing a vague discourse that leads the reader, regardless of his level of professionalism, to get lost in the text (León, 2020). Which indicates that the written or oral exposition is an exhibition of scattered ideas in relation to a thematic.

When mentioning the types of arguments, it is important to keep in mind that these are used not according to the thematic studied or to be exposed but according to the intentionality of the writer (Villarroel et al., 2019).  Everything will depend on the ideas and the criterion adopted with respect to a theory, in addition, this is taken into account the objectives and irrefutable and irrefutable evidence, better said by means of evidential data. Therefore, the arguments are typified according to the discursive line that the speaker takes as a behavioral channel of his ideas (Fernández, 2020).

In this order of ideas, the diversities of the arguments have applicability depending on the topics or theories selected to defend an idea, which must lead to generate coherent and reasonable conclusions to be convincing for the readers. For this, among the arguments of greater preponderance in research papers are those of analogies, which is the simplest way to make known the theories defended or refuted from the comparison. Therefore, it is said to be the simplest way to give weight to the discourse and make what is said more comprehensible (Noemi and Rossel 2017).

Next, arguments by exemplification also denote a significance of great value, which alludes to a way of defending a position through the use of prototypes (examples). That is, some situation serves as a model to explain the pros and cons of a theory. Now, arguments by experience are usually recognized as subjective, since they start from the premise of a particular fact. As well as arguments by authority, since they try to defend a position by alluding to the professionalism, capabilities and intellect of the person who has made an approach related to the issue raised and which is argued. That is to say, this argument refers to its importance and credibility depending on the person who has made it (Villanueva & Prieto, 2020).

Following this line of thought, inductive arguments are presented, which are those that are used to explain an idea from its basis, i.e., its particulars in order to linearly and systematically generalize it until reaching a conclusion. While deductive arguments work the other way around, they explain particular facts starting from general situations or conclusions. 

On the other hand, the statistical or probabilistic, i.e., based on numerical data - percentages to establish almost irrefutable conclusions, for example, if 68% of students fail to develop a good discourse in research papers (Villarroel et al., 2019). This means that 32% do, which supports the idea that there are difficulties in argumentative writing in research studies. In other words, the data support the argument. 

Finally, the following arguments are presented: knowledge arguments and cause-effect arguments. The former refers to the credibility of a theory if it is supported by a large number of people; the latter try to convince about an idea by explaining the relationships between the causes and consequences of a given event (of Lima, 2021). 

In terms of structure, an argument is adjusted to certain elements that are presented in an orderly and systematic way, they have an arrangement within the argumentative discourse. Thus, an introduction should present a clear vision of the object of study, delimiting in a concise manner the concepts and theories alluding to the phenomenon to be studied. It is not a question of explaining extensively, but only of making known how the research variable is presented, without using repetitions that distract attention and prolong the discourse fruitlessly. Therefore, it is good to encourage curiosity and interest by presenting some form of interrogation so that the reader may also establish a position (Veytia, 2021).   

It is important to emphasize the importance of the development of the thematic, it is here where the student researcher should really present demonstrations, data, exemplification, analogies that give more to his ideas about those he has consulted to discuss or affirm some theories. 

Finally, the student researcher must provide a conclusion in this way closes the discourse on the idea raised, hence if the introduction provides the outline indicates the path that was followed to reach a final and conclusive result.

As for the forms of composition of the arguments, part of clarity that must have to make a distinction between a premise and a conclusion, since the first is part of the conclusions, however, are not conclusive. The presentation of ideas, which must have a coherent and sequential structure, as mentioned above. It is also necessary to use simple and clear language, without redundancy in the ideas or themes; the terms used must be consistent (Leal, 2017).  

In addition, the rhetorical use of language is weak, due to the inconsistency of ideas, because part of the problem is that the student-researchers make a compilation of theories that they extract and place in their discourse. However, they do not make their own interpretation of the theory consulted with respect to the phenomenon studied in order to establish a position and argue the reasons for their ideas. Hence, the aforementioned reveals the need to analyze the argumentative quality of academic discourse in research papers. For all the above mentioned, the purpose of the study was to describe the discursive procedures and the linguistic norms of the discourse in research papers, not alluding to the use of terminologies but to the coherence of the message.

The study starts from a documentary review, which arises from the researchers' concern, after having observed a reality that has been observed in the area of university academic training, of two public universities in particular: the University of Pamplona (under the Ministry of National Education) located in North of Santander, Colombia and the University of Zulia (autonomous), located in Maracaibo-Venezuela. In this sense, although the research originates from an educational problem, its analysis was carried out by means of the procedures of the post-positivist paradigm, with a qualitative-interpretative approach, emphasizing that the interpretation was made of diverse theories referred to the topic of argumentation in research works.

This is how this paradigm states that reality cannot be understood and explained in a certain and unmodifiable way, since its analysis and specification is subject to the transformations that continuously arouse and to the interpretation that people make of the same reality (Maldonado, 2018). Therefore, objectivity is a reference of approximation to what is and is seen, because the circumstances are seen from different angles and everything depends on the criterion, experiences of the researchers and even to interpret the information they receive to explain a phenomenon.

With respect to the qualitative approach, it is important to emphasize that these focus on deepening the explanation of phenomena, taking into account all the underlying elements that affect it (object of study), this in the light of the subjective reality of each subject (Sánchez, et al., 2021). That is, it takes into account the perspective that each individual has of what surrounds him/her, of the meaning that facts and objects have for them. In this way, the new theories arise from an individual subjective reality of general objectivity. Hence, it is said that epistemic directionality has an introspective and experiential character (León, 2020).

In reference to the method, it corresponds to the guidelines of documentary research, which is characterized because the information under analysis does not correspond to subjects (individuals) but to theories, therefore, it is provided by texts (printed and digital), documents that enjoy scientific credibility and are the product of previous studies or explosions of professional experts in the studied area (Becker, 2022). Therefore, the mechanism to collect information is through the reading of acceptable documents within the scientific community.

In this sense, it can be conceptualized as one that develops the explanation of the phenomenon studied through documents, from the multiple approach and various theories, which indicates that the researcher should look for ways to search in books so that they respond to their concerns to find answers that allow setting a unified criterion of the object studied (Ñaupas, et al., 2018).

Identification of the research
File number:
Title of the file: Reference consulted:
Selected theory: Location of the text:
Important citations:
Summary of the subject matter of the text consulted:
Important ideas pointed out in the text:
Relationship with theoretical framework:
Relationship with conceptual framework:
Personal observations:
Date of consultation of the card:

After analyzing the theoretical exposition of some axioms referred to the topic of argumentation in research works, it is necessary to point out that it is part of a communicative process, whose scope of action is the scientific field, it is worth noting that the processes are clearly defined, that is, it is not a matter of "I consider" without a justification based on a wide range of opinions in favor or against.

Therefore, the level of demand in university students should be higher, since their academic trajectory should have led to an adequate linguistic and lexical repertoire. In this sense, Tuzinkievicz et al. (2018), states that for a student to be able to argue on any topic or use (argumentation) as part of academic discourse, it is essential that he has gone through some stages before exposing a personal criterion to any topic under discussion; likewise, he has had to acquire some skills such as observation, research, interpretation, analysis, logic, reflection, among others (Acosta and Finol, 2015).

In the same vein, it is known that argumentation represented a skill until recently, since today it is an indication of the level of knowledge of a discipline, a level of knowledge that will allow students to draw lines of action to expose a clear discourse, based on facts and verifiable data, that is, the student will learn to give reasons for his ideas and this will lead him to obtain tools to discuss others during dissertation processes.

So, it would seem that argumentation is only a skill of academically prepared people, although this only indicates that they have better ways to select the reasons with which they will justify their ideas. In this regard, Leal, et al. (2020), states that many people without university education, argue orally, explaining and giving logical reasons, often using arguments of comparison (analogies) and exemplifications, as well as cause and effect, but very little use of authority (because so-and-so said so).

On the other hand, to achieve a good academic discourse it is necessary that students have the ability to differentiate between a proposition, deduction (premise) and a conclusion. In addition, the ideas presented through written or verbal sentences must have a sequential and systematic order, in this way, the first thing to place is the idea to develop, then you can cite some theories about it, interpreting them and setting a position, either in agreement or disagreement, however, whatever their position must find other hypotheses or prepositions that support their position (ideas).

All of the above should be accompanied by the use of simple and concrete language, avoiding the use of abstract and ambiguous concepts that lead to misrepresentation of the ideas presented. In this way, the line of discussion should be coherent and the sentences and ideas should be well linked. Likewise, technical terms should be used in the writing (if the text is written) to give it an intellectual character, that is to say, a language accepted within the scientific community.

In this sense, León (2020), points out that there is a lot of vague eloquence observed in research papers nowadays, lacking concreteness, the breadth of the discourse makes both the writer and the reader get lost in the presentation of ideas, mixing them with other topics far from the initial idea with the variables or categories of the study.  

Within this same context, Loría (2020), argues that the arguments in research papers represent a discursive style that reflects the knowledge acquired over several years at the higher education level. Therefore, an oral and written explosion of a high scientific and communicative value is demanded, since through the writing of research reports the student speaks with clarity and precision supporting his ideas with the theories of other exhibitors with certain trajectory in academic disciplines.

While Pacherres (2021), considers that argumentation is that form of discourse that allows to verify or reject hypotheses according to the researcher's criteria, hence a certain level of academic training is required not only to apply the procedures of the scientific method, but also to write a discourse that has a high level of technicality while maintaining a simple and understandable language. In addition, they let it be known that the work of a researcher does not end until he/she presents the results of his/her study, through an impeccable discursive coherence, leaving a concise and understandable explanation not only of the phenomenon, but also of the findings. Likewise, Fuenmayor and Acosta (2015) point out that argumentation in research works, although related to communication, cannot be seen as synonyms, since the former is a means of communication, but under certain parameters of scientific language, a form of expression, but which is adjusted to provide irrefutable ideas to a certain extent, because they are presented with a theoretical and perhaps even statistical basis as proof and verification of the information.

In short, argumentation is a way of presenting ideas in such a way as to convince readers that the information is true and has a basis that is catalogued as reliable to be applied within the corresponding disciplinary field. From there, the classification of arguments by types also arises, which shows that it depends on a systematic line of discourse; argumentative types cannot be interchanged or used indiscriminately; the applicability of the types of arguments is in correspondence with the ideas of the speaker and his vision of the topic presented.

Finally, as part of the results, authors such as: (Fernández, 2020); (León, 2020); (of Lima, E. 2021), agree that argumentation is the discursive skill that adds a technical value to the whole research process, this being provisional or rather a need that is currently urgent in higher education students, since as previously stated, it is not about talking about a topic just like that, it is necessary to give reason and justify each of the ideas presented in the document or research report.

Therefore, at the level of research papers, higher education students should make contributions and not just expose ideas of other authors just because they are concordant or are related to the topic presented. In this sense, Villanueva & Prieto (2020) explain that it is convenient that after each quote the researcher, in addition to interpreting it so that there is no doubt about the approach it gives, must establish a position that, no matter what it is, must be defended and try to convince the readers of its veracity.

After going through each of the stages of the documentary studies, various theories alluding to the subject of argumentation as part of the academic discourse in research works have been contracted, determining in this sense that the idea of argumentation wields the importance of making known in a convincing way within a disciplinary scientific field a new point of life or the position assumed by researchers with respect to already existing theories, through reasonable evidence and analyzed through the use of the discussive confrontation on a certain subject of several authors.

From this perspective, argumentation implies analytical skills, a practical and logical sense, to know when and where to consider each type of argument, for example, if it is better to use analogy to explain an issue or if it is more convenient to quote an expert who has established a position on the subject. It should also be noted that this gives greater relevance to the need to train widely within higher education systems, for discussion and confrontation of ideas, coupled with a sense of coherence and cohesion in writing and especially in the lexical forms to raise or express ideas about any phenomenon or situation.

Finally, it follows that when a student researcher does not present an argument during his speech, the report he presents becomes a compendium of information to expose and describe the study phenomenon. From there, within the position assumed by the researcher, any value judgment, that is, the experiential conjectures of the researcher, should be obviated if these cannot be supported by any theory or result of studies that so determine.

In addition, the language as the confrontation of ideas should lead to the presentation of general results and conclusions, i.e., this type of work cannot be limited to examining some phenomenon, exposing results of other studies related to the object of study treated or quoting texts and theories of other authors.  It should be emphasized that the language and terms should be oriented according to the public to whom the study could be useful, hence the mention of a scientific community, since if it will be part of the references of other researches, its propagation will be greater and always by experts.

In this sense, the argumentation is part of the support that gives scientific character to every report, since, as we have been saying, a research work must reveal new theories and points of view; expand a discourse of social value (regardless of the subject matter) because it shows a new explanatory approach to certain phenomena from the convergence and discussion of the explanations already exposed previously and with scientific character.

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