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Argumentative Writing

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1 Argumentative Writing

2 What Is Argument? A persuasive discourse, a coherent and considered movement from a claim to a conclusion A means of better understanding other people’s ideas as well as your own

3 Why We Argue? Arguments to Convince Arguments to Persuade
Establish significance/concern Arguments to Persuade Move to action Arguments to Inform Provide information Arguments to Explore Analyzes varying views of the same data/idea Arguments to Make Decisions Encourage wise decisions

4 Occasions For Argument
PAST FUTURE PRESENT What is it called? Forensic Deliberative Epideictic What are its concerns? What happened in the past? What should be done in the future? Who or what deserves praise or blame? What does it look like? Court decisions, legal breifs, legislative hearings, investigative reports, academic studies Proposals, bills, regulations, mandates Eulogies, graduation speeches, inaugural addresses, roasts White papers = gov document Epideictic = designed to display a skill- specifically speaking and rhetoric skills

5 Staking a Claim Claim = an assertion or proposition
Must be arguable (can’t be a statement of fact) Answers What’s your point? Where do you stand on that? Statement supported by evidence 3 Types: claims of fact, claims of value, and claims of policy Evidence & Reasons So Claim

6 Which of these are claims?
1.) SUV owners should be required to pay an energy surcharge. 2.) Charter schools are an alternative to public schools. 3.) Requiring students to wear uniforms improves school spirit. 4.) The terms global warming and climate change describe different perspectives of a complex issue. 5.) Students graduating from college today can expect to have more debt that any previous generation. 6.) Print newspapers will not survive another decade. 7.) People who read novels are more likely to attend sports events and movies than those who don’t. Extra challenge- can ask them to modify the non-claims Non-claims = 2, 4, 5, 7.

7 Claims of Fact Assert that something is true or not true
Ex: Zimbabwe has an unstable government Facts are arguable when they are questioned, when they raise controversy, or when they challenge people’s beliefs Read Amy Domini’s “Why Investing in Fast Food May Be a Good Thing” Find her claims Which ones are claims of fact? For the example- defining “unstable” can be debatable Domini’s piece- claims of fact are in paragraphs 3 & 4.

8 Claims of Policy Change proposal
Argument of policy: Definition of the problem (claim of fact), explanation of why it’s a problem (claim of value), and then an explanation of the change that needs to occur (claim of policy) Read Anna Quindlen’s The C Word in the Hallways excerpt

9 Claims of Value Argues that something is good or bad, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable Personal judgments based on preference or objective evaluations based on external criteria Ex: Leonardo DiCaprio is the best leading man in Hollywood Need to establish specific standards or criteria Read Roger Ebert’s “Star Wars” For example, defining “best” and “leading man” is debatable

10 Activity In small groups, read “Felons and the Right to Vote” and annotate the claims. Identify each claim as fact, value, or policy.

11 Revision Time Think about what claim(s) you want to make in your revised essay. If you are choosing 1 claim, then you need to establish your criteria. Think about potential evidence- examples, facts, quotes (you don’t need to be specific yet) Are you going to address a counterargument? Hand out outline

12 From Claim to Thesis More specific about what you are arguing
Sets purpose and point of view Look at “The C Word in the Hallways”- find the thesis statement Traditionally, a single sentence in the introduction (typically the final sentence) Should preview the essay with clear, unambiguous language while establishing main points Types: Closed Thesis (Restricted), Open Thesis, Counterargument Thesis “C Word” Thesis- last 2 sentences of the 2nd paragraph

13 Closed Thesis Main idea of the argument that also previews the major points Limits the number of points Ex: “The three-dimensional characters, exciting plot, and complex themes of the Harry Potter series make them not only legendary children’s books but enduring literary classics” (Shea 95). Reliable for a short essay Organizational help Argument: literary classics defined by characters, plot, and theme

14 Open Thesis Doesn’t list all of the author’s points
Ex: “The popularity of the Harry Potter series demonstrates that simplicity trumps complexity when it comes to the taste of readers, both young and old” (Shea 96). More effective for longer essays

15 Counterargument Thesis
Both open and closed thesis Summary of a counterarguments, typically qualified by although or but, precedes the writer’s opinion Ex: “Although the Harry Potter series may have some literary merit, its popularity has less to do with storytelling than with merchandising” (Shea 96). Immediately addresses counterarguments Argument seems both stronger and more reliable

16 Revision Look at your essay- do you have a thesis statement? Where is it located? Revise your thesis statement- needs to fall into one of the three categories.

17 First-Hand Evidence Personal Experience
Adds a human element, appeals to pathos Effective for intro and conclusion Anecdotes (stories about other people) Appeals to pathos Current Events (locally, nationally, globally) Connects with reader Beware of bias and confusion of multiple perspectives

18 Second-Hand Evidence Historical Information (verifiable facts)
Background to current events/debates Keep account brief Expert Opinion Make sure the “expert” is credible Quantitative Evidence (stats, surveys, polls) Appeal to logos

19 *Relevant, Accurate, and Sufficient Sources*
Always Have *Relevant, Accurate, and Sufficient Sources*

20 Activity Read Dana Thomas’ “Terror’s Purse Strings”
Annotate the essay below by identifying the different types of first- and second-hand evidence As a group discuss which type of evidence was most effective for Thomas’ argument?

21 *Remember that the research method varies by assignment*
Finding Evidence Consider your audience- which type of evidence will appeal to them? Consider your purpose *Remember that the research method varies by assignment* Discuss different assignments that require research (policy essays, critiques, literary analysis) Discuss options for this essay

22 Evaluating Sources Relevance: How closely related to your topic is the source? Author Credentials: Is the author an expert on your topic? Author Stance: What is the author’s position on the issue? Does it affect the information provided? Publisher/Sponsor Credentials: Is the publisher/sponsor well-known or widely-read? Publisher/Sponsor Stance: Any biases? Currency: Date of publication? Accuracy: Other information cited? Specialization Level: Is general or specific sources preferred? For some assignments, specialized articles may be difficult to read- the information may be too specific for your audience.

23 Special Considerations for Electronic Sources
Who can post on the website? What type of site? .com (commercial), .org (nonprofit organization), .edu (educational institute), .gov (government agency), .net (network) Location: .ca (Canada) or .uk (United Kingdom) Can you determine credibility? Are other sources credited and well-documented? How current is the website? What perspectives are represented?

24 Synthesizing Sources

25 Grammar

26 Work Cited Lunsford, Andrea A., John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. Everything's an Argument with Readings. Boston: Bedford, Print. Shea, Renée Hausmann, Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin Dissin Aufses. The Language of Composition: Reading, Writing, Rhetoric. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Bedford, Print.

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