The idea of argument or thesis is quite central to my subject's rationale for its own evidence; interpretation and engagement with the work of others is widely viewed as the heart of the distinction between 'history' and 'antiquarianism'. Most historians would say that a work's argument should be explicit and should have a central thread upon which the rest of the content should hang, although how often they follow this instruction is perhaps open to question.

Notice this writer's uncertainty about how far 'this instruction' to 'have a central thread' is actually followed. Sometimes tutors may give their students advice that they do not follow themselves. This is partly because often an argument does not present itself fully formed to the reader or even to the writer but has to be built up in the course of writing. It may also be because writers may be doing other things in the course of their writing. In the case of history, for example, they can spend time recounting, constructing a story of 'what happened'.

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