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Preparing for the ALST

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by

Fred Gerber

on 12 February 2015

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Transcript of Preparing for the ALST

Preparing for the ALST

Purpose of the Workshop
Three Goals...
Claim
Grounds
Think of grounds as the evidence or reasons the writer offers to support an argument's claim.
Warrant
The warrant is an assumption with which readers must agree before they can be persuaded by the argument.
In three and a half hours, ALST takers must...
Read a lenghthy passage and answer multiple-choice questions about it to demonstrate comprehension.
Complete three additional reading and writing tasks.
The Toulmin Model
Backing
Backing "backs up" or supports the argument's warrant.
Rebuttal
Writers should not assume all readers will agree with their argument's claim or with the grounds of their argument.
To provide a brief overview of the ALST
To describe strategies for approaching three sections of the ALST
To provide an opportunity for guided practice with the strategies
Task #1
Read two argumentative passages--each of which defends a different side in a debate--and then review a related graphic (e.g. pie chart, bar graph, table).

Compose a 100-200-word response to explain which of the two passages advances a stronger argument.

Task #2
Compose a 100-200-word response to explain how the graphic information provided could be integrated into one of the two arguments.

Task #3
Compose a 400-600-word argumentative essay based upon the graphic and the two sources provided to advance a position on the topic.


The model serves as a framework for critically evaluating the two brief passages you must read.
That same framework can serve as a planning and organizing tool for your 400-600 word essay.
A framework, not a formula
The Toulmin Model offers writers flexibility in organizing their arguments. At the same time, the model helps writers focus on many of the conventions of strong argumentative essays.
The claim asserts a position or idea the writer wants readers to accept.
Claims should be qualified.
Example: "There are
no
technically or economically viable alternatives to large scale, intensive production for
any
of the livestock-derived food required in the cities, where
all
the population growth will occur" (adapted from Leyonhjelm).
Provide accurate, relevant, and varied evidence.
Statistical data
Examples, particular events, or situations relevant to the claim
Informed
opinion (the opinions of experts and authorities)
Experimental evidence
Weigh the evidence critically.
What are the author's credentials? What expertise does the author have on the topic?
Is the author biased?
Are
facts
provided as evidence?
Is the evidence sufficient? Does the author account for all evidence, including counterarguments, alternative perspectives, and/or conflicting reports?
Is the evidence valid, relevant, and accurate?
The warrant may be stated explicitly or implied.
An Example:
Consider, for example, arguments supporting the necessity of
factory farms
--farms where large numbers of animals are managed by fewer people on less land, using genetically superior livestock and modern technology to keep the animals healthy and productive.

Before an author can persuade readers that factory farms are safe and humane, readers would need to accept that producing more meat should be the highest priority in order to feed the world's population.
Anticipate questions and counter-arguments readers might raise.
Represent counter-arguments fairly.
Then offer developed rebuttals.
Concede points when necessary.
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
Generally speaking, writers provide context or background on the issue before asserting the claim.
[Can you identify authors' claims in the ALST sources?]
[Do the authors qualify their claims sufficiently?]
[What kinds of evidence do the ALST sources include?]
[What is the strength of the evidence the ALST sources offer?]
[Can you determine the warrants underlying the ALST sources' arguments?]
[Would you accept the warrants that underlie the ALST sources' arguments?]
Remember...your analysis of the ALST sources will inform your written responses and your argumentative essay.
Some guided practice...
Use the elements of the Toulmin Model to analyze the two sources provided in the packet of workshop handouts:
claim?
sufficiently qualified?
grounds: types and strength of evidence?
warrant?
backing?
rebuttals?
Question:
Which author presents a more compelling argument? Your response (100-200 words) must:

outline the specific claims made in each passage;
evaluate the validity, relevance, and sufficiency of evidence used to support each claim; and
include examples from both passages to support your evaluation.
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