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Critical arguments

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on 11 October 2013

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Transcript of Critical arguments

Your paragraph
The claim.
Supporting evidence (you can use more than one piece).
Query your sources.
Opposing evidence.
Query the sources.
The claim
You all know how to claim. This is the easy bit! Your claim is the reason your opinion is true.
The evidence
There are many types of evidence, however the two you will most likely use are statistics or the opinion of a respected source. WIKIPEDIA, GOOGLE and BAIDU ARE NOT RESPECTED SOURCES. Respected sources include:

Online academic journals e.g. The Journal of Finance (every field has its own journals, but they are usually expensive).
Government publications or authorities.
News websites, particularly for broadsheet newspapers.
Continue to be critical
Offer a counter-argument. It may seem to you that nobody could disagree with your argument, but somewhere, sometime, somebody has. A quick google search or a discussion with friends will give you some ideas to counter your own arguments
Summarise your paragraph in a sentence. For example "Despite other causes of death being dangerous, a ban on smoking would still benefit society.
Critical arguments
Today we will work on developing your arguments.

This format will, again, work with ANY critical papers for my classes and most likely division (and who doesn't want to impress Mr Parkinson!), history, economics and SDP.

Let's continue with the question about smoking from the introduction class.
For example, one claim in support of banning smoking is that it is bad for your health. However, it isn't good enough to just state your claim. You MUST prove it.
If you don't have proof, we could claim anything. For example, I could claim I am the world's best teacher, but I have no
How reliable is your source or statistic?
All evidence can be questioned. Consider:
An example of how to use evidence:

One reason that smoking should be banned is its effects on the public's health. According to CDC, an organisation created by the American government, over 46,000 people will die prematurely each year due to the effects of second-hand smoke.
Does this evidence definitely mean your claim is true, or could it have another explanation?
What do you know about the source of the information? Could they benefit from their agenda? Who is funding their research?
Are there any weaknesses in the research that your source conducted?
For example, second-hand smoking kills 46,000 people per year in the USA, but cars kill 33,000 people and nobody calls for them to be banned.
You should also be critical of the sources of any counter-arguments!
If doing two claims to support your thesis statement and two to argue against it, you will need FOUR of these style paragraphs.
Your focus may change accordingly
"College of Arts and Sciences." The Writing Center. The University of North Carolina, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2013.

Gil, Paul. "How Proper Online Research Works." About.com Internet for Beginners. About.com, Sept. 2013. Web. 28 Sept. 2013.
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