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The Writer’s Reference Book


Module Q – Argument and Persuasion – Hint Sheet

Argument is an attempt to persuade through logic.

  1. Moving from issue to thesis
    1. Deciding on a suitable issue (must be a significant and controversial subject)
    2. Considering all sides
      1. Make a pro/con list
      2. Research points you do not understand
    3. Taking a stand (forming an opinion on the issue)
    4. Writing the thesis
      1. A statement of opinion or value
      2. A proposal for action
      3. A combination of proposal and statement
  2. Choosing appropriate evidence
    1. Define any terms in the thesis that may be controversial.
    2. Carefully analyze the thesis and then build a series of points to support it.
    3. Gather concrete evidence.
      1. A fact is a statement which is true and verifiable.
      2. An opinion is a statement which is the result of judgment and which cannot be conclusively verified.
    4. Consider the opposition.
      1. Consider the points the opposition might raise.
      2. Gather evidence to counter those points in your argument.
    5. Check to see that the evidence is relevant, current, and specific.
  3. Testing for logic
    1. Test for arguments that go from specific to general; that is, they “leap” from a specific and limited observation to a probable conclusion).
    2. Test for arguments that go from general to specific.
    3. Avoid logical fallacies (which seem reasonable but are not).
  4. Presenting the case
    1. Interpret evidence as soon as it is presented. Draw conclusions to each point.
    2. Include the thesis as the last sentence in the introduction.
    3. Save the strongest point until last.
    4. Deal with opposing viewpoints at the beginning of the argument.
    5. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion.
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