What is argument? Beyond hair pulling, dish throwing, yelling, and other in-your-face actions
Definitions of “argument” A process of reasoning using evidence and proof Discourse about controversial issues Defending a value judgment—testing ideas about good and bad, right and wrong, esp when facts don’t help decide Proposing solutions for a problem Challenging other people’s solutions
Parts of an argument What do you notice (observe, experience)? What are you trying to prove? Where are you coming from?
1. Claim: what are you trying to prove? May sound like a thesis statement 5 main types
Claims of fact Facts are never neutral Facts don’t speak for themselves Facts require interpretation Claims of fact attempt to prove something is true
Claims of definition Cicero: “Every rational discussion of anything whatsoever should begin with a definition in order to make clear what is the subject of dispute.” Establishes what writer and reader can agree on
Claims of cause Explains the “why” something happened Demonstrates basis, motive, background Justifies outcomes, results, effects Focuses on the past Global Warming Depleted Ozone CFCs Fossil Fuel Burning
Claims of value Make a judgement (e.g. dis/approval, right/wrong, good/bad, un/desirable) Individual or represents a group Focuses on the present
Claims of policy Emphasizes “shoulds and oughts” Looks for solutions to problems Focuses on the future
2. Evidence: what do you have to go on? Toulmin: “something that tends to prove: grounds for belief” Can be observations, eyewitness accounts Documentation (letters, diaries, memos) Opinions, expert testimony, interpretations
Evaluating evidence Is it up to date? Is it sufficient to persuade? Does it come from a trustworthy source? Is it consistent, coherent, relevant, clear?
Evaluating evidence Is there enough evidence? Are you as a reader persuaded? Is the source qualified to give an opinion? Is the source biased?
Evaluating evidence Is it relevant? Is the example truly representative or does it fit something else better?
3. Warrants: where are you coming from? Values Underlying assumptions Beliefs “what makes people think and/or act as they do”
How the Recommendation Report Argues You make claims about what the client should do (steps to take) Present evidence supporting your claim(s) Shape your report according to what you know about the client’s warrants--and your own
Organizing Reports that Persuade/Work Overview--address the audience, summarize claims, establish your credibility, introduce claims Analyses--present evidence (data, research, survey results) Recommendations--steps to be followed, persuades claims Cost Analyses List of Resources--MLA (websites, interviews, texts and materials, sources) Appendices--samples, data bases, additional data