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OpinionsGiving and asking for

This page continues the academic discussion skills section by looking at how to give your opinion and how to invite others to join the discussion by asking for their opinion. There is also an example discussion to show how to use some of the phrases.


Giving opinions

If you want to participate effectively in an academic discussion, you will need to make your ideas clear. This means you will have to voice (or give) your opinion. This alone will not be enough, as you will also need to support your opinion by giving reasons and evidence such as examples, statistics, or information from readings on the topic. If you have actual data or expert opinions to use during the discussion, you should refer to the source if you can.


The box to the right shows phrases for each of these three functions, i.e. giving opinions, explaining your reasons for holding these opinions, and giving evidence to support your opinion.


Giving opinions

  • I think (that)...
  • I believe (that)...
  • I feel (that)...
  • It seems to me (that)...
  • My view is (that)...
  • It is my view (that)...
  • In my view...
  • In my opinion...
  • As far as I’m concerned...
  • I would say (that)...
  • For me, ...
  • As I understand it...
  • From what I understand...

Giving reasons

  • This is due to...
  • Because/Since...
  • Due to the fact that...
  • As a result of...
  • As a consequence of...

Giving evidence

  • For instance...
  • For example...
  • (Author's name) states that...
  • Statistics from (source) indicate...

Asking for opinions

A related skill during a seminar discussion is asking others for their opinion. This allows other group members to join the discussion and gives them a chance to share their opinions, and say whether they agree or disagree with yours. The phrase box shows some useful phrases for inviting others to share their opinions with the rest of the group.



Asking for opinions

  • What do you think?
  • What do you think about...?
  • What’s your opinion about...?
  • How do you feel about...?
  • What about you?


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Example discussion

Below is an example discussion on the topic of transportation in a particular city. There are three students involved. Click on the different areas (in the shaded boxes to the right) to highlight phrases for giving opinions, giving reasons, and giving evidence.


Asking for opinions
 
Giving opinions
   
Giving reasons
 
Giving evidence

Student A: I think that the transportation here is excellent, because there are so many different options: bus, underground, taxi. I really love the buses here. They run many different routes, and the cost is quite reasonable, under one pound for most of the places I go to. What's your opinion?
Student B: I agree with you. The buses are very convenient and cheap. And the subway is good too, it's not expensive at all.
Student C: That may be true, but you are only considering the cost. If we look at how frequent the transport is, then it's not so good. For example I often have to wait twenty or thirty minutes for a bus when I go to the university. It's really not convenient for me.
Student A: I really don't agree with you. In my opinion the transport is extremely convenient. As I just said, the buses run many different routes, so you can get anywhere in the city quite easily. For instance I can take a bus from where I live to the university, or another one to the train station, another to the football stadium. They'll all direct and I don't need to change.
Student B: So you mean that convenience in terms of destination is important in a good transportation system?
Student A: Yes, that's certainly one aspect. In terms of the buses, there are also the number of bus stops, which again makes them very convenient.
Student B: Yes, I see.
Student C: I don't think I'd say that. In some ways, the more stops there are, the less convenient it is. It makes the journey longer. And how about frequency? Isn't that important too?
Student A: Yes, in my opinion it is. But I don't have any problem with that. I never have to wait more than about ten minutes for a bus, so in terms of frequency they are very convenient for me.
Student B: That's what I think too. I never have to wait long for a bus either. It could be that you're just unlucky with where you live.
Student C: I take your point, but I still don't think I agree. As far as I'm concerned the transportation needs improving in many aspects, because it's just not good enough. You mentioned taxis, but they're far too expensive. For example I once took one to the train station in the evening, and I paid almost ten pounds.
Student A: I'm not so sure about that. Ten pounds to me seems quite reasonable for a taxi fare. And isn't that just the nature of taxis? That they are more expensive?
Student C: I don't think so. I mean of course they should be more expensive than other forms of transportation, but not so expensive.
Student B: What do you mean by expensive? How much is too much?
Student C: I would say that two or three times as much as other forms of transport is fine, so maybe three pounds for a typical journey. Certainly not as much as ten pounds!
Student B: I see. So what do suggest to improve the situation? Taxi drivers have to make a living, after all.
Student C: Well, I think what the local council should do is reduce the starting fare for taxis. That would at least make them more economical for shorter distances. If the fare for longer distances is higher, it would equal things out. Alternatively...

Asking for opinions
Giving opinions
Giving reasons
Giving evidence



Checklist

Below is a checklist for this page. Use it to check your understanding.


Area OK? Notes/comment
I know a range of phrases for giving opinions in an academic discussion
I know phrases for giving reasons for my opinions, and phrases for giving evidence to support my opinions
I know how to invite others into the discussion by asking for opinions




Next section

Read more about agreeing and disagreeing in the next section.




Previous section

Go back to the previous section about taking part in discussions.






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