Presentation on theme: "Evaluating Argument What Makes It Strong?. To evaluate an argument, analyze its components, or parts, including the claim, reasons, evidence, as well."— Presentation transcript:
Evaluating Argument What Makes It Strong?
To evaluate an argument, analyze its components, or parts, including the claim, reasons, evidence, as well as how well it refutes the opponents’ claim (counter), when necessary. So…how do we measure it?
We look at three things. Is it… relevant-addresses the issue, related to subject sound-logical, true, makes sense; reliable, based on reason, sense, or judgment sufficient-adequate; enough
The Claim -Needs to be clearly stated opinion (not a fact) that is debatable (has two or more sides) Ask yourself: What does the author want to do or believe? -Needs to be relevant to the topic (related, matters) and sound(logical). Wind is the best type of weather. (Who cares?) More efforts need to be made to improve tornado warning systems. (Good!) Students with brown hair are less intelligent than other students. (Unsound) The weather swings are caused by the weather changing. (Unsound)
Watch for (sound reasoning): Weak or vague wording: very, nice, appears, seems, good, ridiculous, outrageous Overgeneralizations: all, always, never, everyone Circular or illogical thought
The Claim Are these strong claims? Why or why not? 1. Having designated smoking areas on campus seems like a good idea. 2. Designated smoking areas on campus might or might not work depending on a person’s point of view. 3. My campus is considering designated smoking areas. 4. The campus should establish designated smoking areas.
The Claim Weak: Having designated smoking areas on campus seems like a good idea. (Can’t be proven) Weak: Designated smoking areas on campus might or might not work depending on a person’s point of view. (No stance; no argument) Weak: My campus is considering designated smoking areas. (Fact) Strong: The campus should establish designated smoking areas.
The Reasons Do the reasons support the claim? Are they relevant? (related to the claim) Are they sound? (logical)
Issue: Groups of teens have caused problems in urban areas recently. Claim: Teenagers should not be allowed to congregate in groups in public places because… Reason 1: they tend to follow the crowd Reason 2: groups tend to behave in ways individuals do not Reason 3: kids don’t have any reason to congregate in public. Which reason is unsound? Irrelevant?
What is Evidence? Evidence can include research findings, case studies, personal experience or observation, examples, facts, comparisons, expert testimony and opinions. Relevance means the support is directly related to the argument. Ask yourself, “ Is the support directly related to the argument? ”
The Evidence This is a paragraph from an article that teens should not be allowed to congregate in groups in public. When teens hang out in groups, they often follow the crowd. Peer groups influence people’s behavior. Why? The simple answer is peer pressure. Lisa Freeman, an expert on anti-bullying reports that over 40 percent of teens feel pressure to do things they should not (abusebites.com). Teens desperately want to fit in, so they seek the approval of their friends even if that means misbehaving in some way. Unlike many adults who strive for independence and individuality, teens strive to blend in. “Differences, in fact, are a weakness all tweens and teens try their best to disguise; being different is social suicide” (research-live). Acceptance is essential in the mind of a teenager. That fact gets even uglier when fitting in with the crowd means behaving in violent or destructive ways. Is the evidence relevant? Is the evidence in this paragraph sound? Is the evidence in this paragraph sufficient? Herd Mentality - TIME
Your turn! Evaluate the following paragraph from an essay on homework. The claim is that homework should be eliminated. Homework can also have a negative effect on students. If a student is doing the work wrong and practices it that way, it will do more harm than good. The old saying goes “practice makes perfect,” but that’s not always true. Perfect practice makes perfect, but imperfect practice makes a mess. If a student practices a skill wrong, the wrong skill is what she remembers. Not only does homework hurt learning, it affects the student’s attitude. When homework is confusing, a student gets frustrated and begins to feel defeated. Too much frustration eventually makes kids start to dislike learning and school. They have negative attitudes towards parents and teachers that do nothing to promote education. Students would learn better if they practiced their work with a teacher who could make sure they are doing it right and that they don’t get confused or frustrated. Evaluate the reasons and evidence in this paragraph. Be sure to consider if they are relevant and sound.
Reason: Homework has a negative effect on students. This is relevant to the claim that homework should be eliminated. It is also sound (logical). If something is negative, we don’t continue to keep it or practice it. Evidence: incorrect practice is harmful frustration creates a negative attitude toward learning and school The evidence is relevant. Both incorrect practice and frustration have negative effects on students which would support the reason (& the claim). Homework is to practice skills, and it is well known that it is not good to practice something the wrong way, so this logic is sound. Likewise, when people get frustrated, they get mad or give up. The author says this affects attitude and this is sound; people don’t like to be unsuccessful, so when they are forced into situations where they are sure to fail, their attitudes are generally negative. The author provides two relevant and sound pieces of evidence to support his reason. This is sufficient to support the claim.
The Counter Need to adequately address the opponent’s strongest argument. Teens need to have fun. Not all teenagers are violent or dangerous. Adults are allowed to socialize in groups, so teenagers should have the same rights. The right to assemble is guaranteed by the first amendment. Which of the above is the strongest counter claim to the argument?
Opponents would say that the right to assemble is guaranteed by the first amendment. While freedom of assembly is protected, it is “peaceful” assembly, and it normally refers to government or policy demonstrations, not social time. Teenagers do not usually congregate for political purposes, and their gatherings are often not peaceful. In fact, they can turn violent or deadly, and are not in the best interest of anyone. Is the counter relevant? Is the logic sound? Does the author refute the opponent’s argument sufficiently?
To analyze an entire piece, break it down to see if each part is doing its job. Claim- is it relevant? Sound? Reason 1& EvidenceReason 2 & Evidence etc… Is it relevant? Is it sound? Counter Claim: How well does the author refute the opponents’ claim? Does the author sufficiently support the claim?
Summing Up To evaluate argument, we check the components: claim, reasons, evidence, and counter to make sure they are relevant, sound, and sufficient.
The Evidence Groups, and particularly groups of teenagers, behave much differently than a person would on his or her own. Peer pressure encourages kids to jump on the bandwagon with everyone else. “Come on — everybody's doing it. That whispered message, half invitation and half goad, is what most of us think of when we hear the words peer pressure. It usually leads to no good — drinking, drugs,…”(Herd Mentality). Teens who would never think of misbehaving are drawn into bad choices and behavior in order to fit in with the group. According to KidsPeace, teens reported that when they drank alcohol, 81.6% of them were with two or more people, but only 5.2% drank alone (teencentral.net). Even more disturbing is mob violence carried out by teens. In Des Moine, Iowa, three 18-year-olds “…have been charged with murder in a deadly beating attack that police said reflected a ‘mob mentality’”(examiner.com) It is unlikely that any of the teens would have engaged in the attack on his own. If laws prevented teens from congregating in groups, it would reduce the negative peer pressure that comes from wanting to fit into the group, and thus, reduce violence. Herd Mentality - TIMEHerd Mentality - TIME Is the evidence relevant? Is the evidence in this paragraph sound? Is the evidence in this paragraph sufficient?