Presentation on theme: "Writing Effective Arguments What is a written argument? What is a reasonable tone in an argument? What part does audience play in my argument? How do I."— Presentation transcript:
Writing Effective Arguments What is a written argument? What is a reasonable tone in an argument? What part does audience play in my argument? How do I choose a topic for an argument? How do I develop a claim and a thesis statement for my argument? What is the structure of a classical argument? Why might I need to define key terms? What types of appeals can provide support? How do I support my argument? How do I handle opposing arguments? Senior Research Paper
What is a written argument? A Persuasive Essay: –To CONVINCE a reader to agree with you or the stand you’ve taken on a topic open to debate Taking a Position (making a claim) Defending a Position (supporting your claim) Written arguments are different from the arguing people do in everyday life. –Not based on anger No Name-Calling –Not based on emotion
What is a reasonable tone in an argument? Fair-Minded –Respect the other side (name-calling shows poor judgment) –Anticipate opposing positions Balanced –Refute opposition with balanced language and emphasis Careful word choice (not careless & harsh) No Slang 3 rd -Person “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”
What part does audience play in my argument? Your PURPOSE: to convince your audience to agree with you or to be open to your position (to see your side of the argument) The more emotionally charged a topic, the greater the chance that any position argued will elicit either strong agreement or strong disagreement. –Abortion –School Prayer –Gun Control –Racial Profiling Consider the degree of agreement you can expect to receive from your audience. –A hostile audience? –A friendly, open-minded audience? Academic audiences expect a higher standard. Beware of logical fallacies.
How do I choose a topic for an argument? Must be open to debate Take a position (make a claim) about a debatable topic. For your essay, select only one side to defend, but keep the opposing side in mind. TOPIC (FACT): Students at Calhoon College must study a foreign language. DEBATABLE: Should Calhoon College require students to study a foreign language? PRO Claim/Assertion (one side of the argument): Calhoon College should require students to study a foreign language. CON Claim/Assertion (the other side of the argument): Calhoon College should not require students to study a foreign language. These claims eventually become thesis statements.
How do I develop a claim and a thesis statement for my argument? CLAIM / ASSERTION: a statement that expresses a point of view on a debatable topic. –A starting point; a focus for your thinking Rarely finds its way (word for word) into essay –Gets reworded/rewritten to become Thesis Statement –Must be supported Facts Statistics Quotes (all property cited & documented, of course)
EXPLORE the topic –Don’t rush –Consider all sides Good Strategy = Create a 2-column list: –One Column: PRO (“for”) –Other Column: CON (“against”) How do I develop a claim and a thesis statement for my argument?
EXAMPLE: –TOPIC: Wild animals as domestic pets –PRO (“for”) CLAIM/ASSERTION: People should be allowed to own wild animals. –CON (“against”) CLAIM/ASSERTION: People should not be allowed to own wild animals. NOTICE: The Topic does NOT need to be a complete sentence, but the Assertion DOES need to be a complete sentence. How do I develop a claim and a thesis statement for my argument? Don’t make the PRO/CON set-up more complicated than it is. Keep it simple.
***from Claim/Assertion to Thesis Statement TOPIC: Private ownership of wild animals PRO (“for”) CLAIM/ASSERTION: People should be allowed to own wild animals. CON (“against”) CLAIM/ASSERTION: People should not be allowed to own wild animals. POSITION (“SIDE”) TAKEN: I think private ownership of wild animals should not be allowed. 1 st DRAFT OF THESIS STATEMENT: It is bad for private citizens to own wild animals. 2 nd DRAFT OF THESIS STATEMENT: To eliminate what few people realize are increasingly dangerous situations for people and animals alike, ownership of wild animals as pets needs to be made completely illegal. FINAL DRAFT OF THESIS STATEMENT: To eliminate dangerous situations for both people and animals, policymakers need to ban private ownership of wild animals as pets.
What is the structure of a classical argument? I.Introduction (THESIS = last sentence) II.Problem (longest section of essay; provide support) III.Solution (use supporting ideas/details) IV.Rebuttal (introduce and defeat opposing points) V.Conclusion (reword Thesis) VI.Works Cited (a minimum of 6 sources; alphabetical order) There are many ways to structure an argumentative essay, but this is a standard format to follow.
Why might I need to define key terms? Key Terms = the words central to an essay’s topic & message Open to interpretation –Freedom –Democracy –Truth –Justice Avoid quoting from a dictionary for academic writing.
What types of appeals can prove support? LOGICAL Appeal (“logos”): –Use sound reasoning (synthesis of readings/research) –Distinguish between fact & opinion –Avoid logical fallacies EMOTIONAL Appeal (“pathos”): –Use in conjunction with Logical Appeal –Appeal to the heart vs. the mind –Enlisting the emotions of the reader/audience Appeal to audience’s “better self”: –sympathy, pride, values, beliefs, etc. Create a mental picture (using concrete details/examples) to make the audience see/feel the importance of your claim –Use honestly, with restraint ETHICAL Appeal (“ethos”): –Establish the credibility of the writer A knowledgeable person with good sense –Don’t state opinions as facts, distort evidence, or make claims that can’t be supported.
How do I support my argument? Before you start, ask yourself: WHY DO I BELIEVE MY CLAIM? –Reasons –Examples –Evidence –Facts –Statistics –Expert testimony –Experience Use quoting/paraphrasing with correct MLA style
How do I handle opposing arguments? The Purpose for Rebuttal: Refute opposing arguments to show why they are weak or undesirable (and you are correct) –Look especially for missing or contradictory facts –Look for emotional appeal v. logical appeal –Redefine key terms –Explain the negative consequences of the opposing position –Concede an opposing point, but explain that doing so does not destroy your own argument then, go beyond... –Explain that the costs of the other position are not worth the benefits Look for essays, articles, and opinions that oppose your position, not only ones that agree with yours. If you cannot find research, develop ideas yourself: Imagine that you’re debating someone who disagrees with you; what positions would they take & why? Brainstorm with classmates, family, friends, etc.
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