Writing an Argumentative Essay Terry C. Norris Fall 2015 Overview Types o With research Evidence from outside, authoritative sources Sources cited within the paper and on the Works Cited page o Without research Evidence from personal experience or general knowledge No citations or Works Cited page
Overview Goal Choose, develop, and prove a position on a controversial issue (difference of opinion) Process o Read o Choose a topic/issue o Gather evidence o Choose a position o Use evidence to prove your position o Use evidence to disprove opposition Definitions Controversial Topic/Issue
o Room for a difference of opinion Evidence o Facts about the topic/issue Position o What you believe about the topic/issue (should, should not) Argument o Systematic presentation of evidence to prove your position Opposition o Arguments against your position Refutation o Arguments that disprove opposition arguments
Process Read o Note possible positions on the topic/issue o Note significant facts about the topic/issue Choose a position o Decide which position is strongest based on the facts Use evidence that supports your position o Note evidence that supports your position o Build arguments that support your position Use evidence that disproves opposition arguments o Note evidence that refutes opposition o Build arguments that refute opposition arguments Patterns of Reasoning
Induction (circumstantial) o Examine all the evidence you can find and come to a probable conclusion (position) based on the evidence o Example The Declaration of Independence o Caution Leave room for exceptions: It seems likely that. . . . It is probably the case that. . . . If the facts are true, the conclusion might be true, but you may have overlooked some evidence that does not support your position.
Patterns of Reasoning Deduction (definite) The evidence necessarily leads to the conclusion o Major Premise All humans are mortal (A/B) o Minor Premise Socrates is a human (C/A) o Conclusion Socrates is mortal (C/B) A = category, B = characteristic, C = item from A If the premises are true, the conclusion must be true = o If A = B and C = A, then C must also = B o If a group has a certain characteristic, then any item out of the group must also have that characteristic. (Quantities equal to equal quantities are equal to each
other.) Patterns of Reasoning Deduction o Invalidation Weak information: If either of the premises is not true or just an assumption, then the conclusion is not true. Formal Error: All dogs have four legs (A/B) All cats have four legs (C/B)
All cats are dogs (C/A) C is not an item out of A, but a new category, and is associated with B, the characteristic. The conclusion associates C with A, the category, not B, the characteristic. Persuasion Logos () = logic, reasoning, rationale) = logic, reasoning, rationale o Evidence presented clearly and consistently, without logical fallacies Ethos () = logic, reasoning, rationale) = ethics, honesty, credibility, fair treatment of the issue and opposition positions o Evidence presented objectively, not manipulated
to make your position seem right Pathos () = logic, reasoning, rationale) = feelings, personal significance of the issue o Ones emotional investment in the issue is transferred to the reader so he can understand the significance Persuasion Balance o Logos, ethos, and pathos need to be balanced, with the emphasis on logos and ethos. Logos Sound reasoning is the basis of persuasion
one cant argue with the facts. Ethos Honesty in presenting the facts gives one credibility so that the reader will trust the writer. Pathos An emotional undertone gives life to the argument and helps connect the reader with the writer on a personal level and helps him understand (and perhaps agree with) the writers position. If the writer doesnt care, why should the reader care? Evaluating Sources Whom can You Trust? Determine reliability/credibility Determine accuracy of information Analyze reasoning/logical fallacies o Balance of Logos, Ethos, and Pathos o Pattern of reasoning
Induction Quantity of evidence Quality of evidence Deduction Truth of the premises Structure of the argument Using Evidence Principle: Information from an authoritative outside source gives credibility to your
point. Method: Either quote or paraphrase, but give credit. o Introduce the information establish credentials Dr. _____, who has studied this issue for 20 years and written several books on it, . . . o Use the information support your point . . . says, _________. o Connect the information establish your point Dr. ____s comment shows that ______ because Using Evidence Application: o Support the arguments for your position o Refute opposition arguments
Your Position Evidence Opposition Position Essay Structure General o Introduction, Body, Conclusion o Thesis, Topic Sentences, Transitions Specific o Introduction Overview of the issue and various positions o Thesis Acknowledge main opposition position
and introduce your position o Body Evidence that supports your arguments and refutes opposition arguments o Conclusion Summary of your arguments and how the evidence supports your position Essay Format MLA o Manuscript Format Class information, pagination, margins, line spacing, paragraphing Check handbook or class notes o Research In-text citations, Works Cited page Check handbook, class notes, and MS Word
Essay Checklist Argumentative Essay Checklist Area Coherence General Manuscript Format Sentence Skills Focus Arguments Evidence ArgumentaQualifications tion Connection Refutation Persuasion
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