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Published byBelinda Webb Modified over 7 years ago
Persuasion Getting people to agree with you Part I: Organizing your paper
Understand the rhetorical situation: If your reader already agrees with you, there’s no need to persuade. Instead, you are simply strengthening an existing view. Hence, you should assume that your reader is either neutral, opposed to your view, or simply unfamiliar with the issue. For most college papers, you can safely assume that your reader is “somewhat unfamiliar” and “slightly opposed” to your position (unless the assignment stipulates otherwise).
Understand the rhetorical situation: If your reader is “somewhat unfamiliar” with the topic, one of your goals is to educate the reader. If your reader is “slightly opposed” to your position, you need to begin your argument on common ground. That is, you should start with something about which you and your reader will agree.
The structure of your paper: Begin by explaining the topic: what it is, why it matters, and maybe why people disagree about it. (In other words, educate your reader about the general topic and the particular issues you will address.) Focus on the particular claim you will discuss. Show that you understand the arguments against your position by explaining those arguments. (At this point, your reader should be agreeing with you.) After showing the arguments against your position, you can make the arguments for your position – if possible, by working from your “common ground.”
Intro: Announce the topic and the issues; state common ground. Argue against your position. Argue for your position. If appropriate, show problems with “against” arguments, then offer alternatives (i.e., the “for” arguments). Remind the reader of your common ground, and show how your position offers the better path to that ground.
Remember to include logical transitions between sections
Persuasion Getting people to agree with you Part II: Types of Arguments
Audience Subject Text CONTEXT Writer ETHOS: Character of the writer PATHOS: Emotions of the audience LOGOS: Facts about the subject/situation
Ethos: character of the writer Should not be a major issue in this kind of paper Establish your credibility by showing that you know your material: Use appropriate (scholarly) sources Use appropriate language/conventions Draw reasonable conclusions Avoid logical fallacies Avoid too many emotional appeals
Logos: facts about the subject/situation Should be the major strategy for academic papers Present the facts and connect the dots Use lots of evidence, and from different sources Use logic, not emotion, to refute opposing arguments Avoid “straw men” and other fallacies Show how opposing arguments aren’t logical OR aren’t practical OR aren’t as good as your arguments
Pathos: emotions of the audience Use only sparingly in academic papers Appeal to values such as honesty, integrity, & fairness Generally most effective for closing arguments
Intro: Announce the topic and the issues; state common ground. Argue against your position. Argue for your position. Remind the reader of your common ground, and show how your position offers the better path to that ground. Establish your credibility with clear, concise, dispassionate explanations. Make the case for the other side, then use “but” to show potential problems with those arguments. Offer alternative arguments, showing how they are preferable to, or at least less undesirable than, the initial ideas. Here’s where you can use a little pathos, if necessary, to “close the deal.” ETHOS LOGOS PATHOS
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