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Introduction to Argument and Academic Writing

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Emily Thompson

on 24 October 2017

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Transcript of Introduction to Argument and Academic Writing

Introduction to Argument & Academic Writing
Position vs. Proposal Arguments
Organize & Write a Position Argument
Organize & Write a Proposal Argument
Aristotle's Triangle of Rhetorical Persuasion
What is your goal or purpose for the essay?
Convince your readers to change their way of thinking.
Get your readers to consider an issue from your perspective.
Example: Is graffiti art, or is it vandalism?
Position Arguments:
Proposal Arguments:
Convince your readers that action needs to be taken in response to an issue.
Propose a solution and explain why your solution is feasible.
Example: X needs to be done to reduce carbon emissions.
Define the subject or issue
Get your reader's attention by telling them what is at stake
Clearly state your position/take a stance (your thesis statement)
Body Paragraphs:
Develop reasons (main topics of your paragraphs)
Support reasons with evidence (your outside research)
Consider opposing views, but refute these objections to your position
Reinforce what is at stake
Reiterate why your position is preferable
Point to broader implications outside the scope of your essay
Define and summarize the problem
Specify whose interests are at stake
Establish your proposed solution to the problem (your thesis statement)
Body Paragraphs:
Describe other solutions that have been proposed/attempted, and why they are ineffective/unrealistic
Present your solution
Argue why your solution is preferable and that it can be done
Reiterate what is at stake
Make a call to action: what do you want your readers to do?
Aristotle's Triangle of Persuasion: Pathos, Ethos, and Logos
How do you persuade your audience to be convinced by your argument? Aristotle's "triangle of rhetoric" gives us some strategies for persuasion:
Appealing to your audience's
Establishing your own
so your audience
Appealing to your audience's sense of
Aristotle's Strategies of Persuasion
Demystifying the Thesis Statement
What is a thesis statement?
Making a Claim:
A thesis statement is
a fact--it is an arguable claim: something you must use evidence to support.
Your thesis is the backbone of your essay:
Every idea, fact, and outside source you add to your paper should be relevant to and support your thesis statement.
Elements of a Strong Thesis Statement
You need to effectively make your case in the scope of a single paper. Your focus should be narrow enough to be able to cover the topic thoroughly. Don't be too broad!
And don't be too general either! Get to the heart of your argument right from the start. You're not just making an argument on the education system, you're arguing for the importance of the arts in elementary school.
The "So What?" Factor:
A good thesis makes readers care about a topic. Tell your audience why your claim matters: "This is my claim, here's why it matters, and here's evidence to support it."
A claim made by the writer, that they must use evidence to defend.
Aristotle & Argument
The goal of argumentative (or persuasive) writing is to
convince your reader that your viewpoint is valid
--or at least more valid than your opposition.
considered persuasion an art form:
--Those who had the ability to craft convincing arguments would succeed in life.
pathos, ethos, and logos
as three main strategies of persuasion.
An ethical appeal
Prove you are knowledgeable on a topic
Avoid careless mistakes in writing
Be conscious of tone and style of your writing
An emotional appeal
Connect with your audience
Be conscious of what strategies of emotional appeal are most useful (word choice, examples, metaphors, anecdotes, humor)
Balance your use of pathos with other strategies (don't lay it on too thick)
A logical appeal
Frame your view as a matter of "common sense"
Rely on objective data and facts to support your view
Organize your content in a logical way
Context, Purpose, Audience
Before you start writing, what do you need to consider?
(The circumstances surrounding any writing situation)
The better you understand the circumstances that prompt you to write, the better you can construct an effective argument to suit that context.
(Your intended reason for writing)
The better you understand what you want to achieve in your writing (persuade? take a stance? redefine?), the better you can construct an argument that fits this purpose.
(who you're writing to/for)
Who are you writing to? What do they already know? What do they already believe? What strategies would best convince them? The better you can answer these questions, the better your argument will be.
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