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Preparing your argument

To prepare to make an effective argument you must first:

  • translate your topic into a Problem Statement;
  • frame a situation that is debatable or contestable;
  • formulate a question about which reasonable people might disagree; and
  • find a claim your analysis has led you to assert.

Now you can begin to imagine what it will take to convince your audience. What evidence, methods, or models do they expect? What conventions must you follow to win approval?

Sketch your approach

  • What do you want to show?
  • Why should readers agree?
  • Based on what evidence?
  • What are some possible alternatives or objections?
  • What conclusion will you offer, and why should your readers accept it as valuable?

The five parts of argument

The questions that lead to your topic, broadly conceived, also steer you toward what The Craft of Argument formalizes in the Five Parts of Argument.

  • Claims
  • Reasons
  • Evidence
  • Warrants
  • Acknowledgement and Response

These correspond to the williams’ and colomb’s five questions of argument:

  • What are you claiming?
  • What reasons do you have for believing your claim?
  • What evidence do you base those reasons on?
  • What principle connects or makes your reasons relevant to your claims?
  • What about such-and-such potential disagreement/difficulty?

Constructing claims

We learn that, at bottom, an argument is just a claim and its support:

REASON therefore CLAIM

or

CLAIM because of REASON.

Your claim is your main point. It should either be clearly conceptual (seeking to change how we think) or clearly pragmatic (seeking to change how we act). Claims should, by definition, require good reasons. Audiences should be able to disagree with your claim and, by extension, to be convinced and converted by your evidence.

More about claims

  • Make sure your readers can recognize why your claim is significant
  • Ensure that your claim is clear and concise. Readers should be able to tell what is at stake and what principles you intend to use to argue your point
  • Confirm that the claim accurately describes the main tenets of the argument to follow
  • Moderate your claim with appropriate qualifiers like “many,” “most,” “often,” in place of “all,” “always,” etc.

Evaluating good claims

  • Your solution is possible.
  • Your solution is ethical (moral, legal, fair, etc.)
  • Your solution is prudent-- it takes into consideration both the problem you seek to resolve and the possible ramifications of your proposal.

Reasons and evidence

Most arguers know from experience that reasons and evidence help to convince audiences. In the simplest terms, reasons answer the question: “Why are you making that claim?” Evidence offers tangible support for reasons. When stating reasons, always be aware of your audience. You will need to choose the reasons that support your evidence that are also the most likely to convince your specific readers or listeners. Knowing the general values and priorities of your readers will help you to determine what they will count as compelling reasons. Knowing what kind of arguments and evidence they will expect from you will guide you in choosing reasons that meet those expectations. Tailor your appeal to the specific needs and acknowledged concerns of your reading community, because arguments are always audience specific. Evidence should be reliable and based upon authoritative and trustworthy research and sources. It should be appropriately cited, and ample enough to convince. Evidence should also be designed to appeal to your target audience’s values and priorities.

Questions & Answers

what is math number
Tric Reply
x-2y+3z=-3 2x-y+z=7 -x+3y-z=6
Sidiki Reply
Need help solving this problem (2/7)^-2
Simone Reply
x+2y-z=7
Sidiki
what is the coefficient of -4×
Mehri Reply
-1
Shedrak
the operation * is x * y =x + y/ 1+(x × y) show if the operation is commutative if x × y is not equal to -1
Alfred Reply
An investment account was opened with an initial deposit of $9,600 and earns 7.4% interest, compounded continuously. How much will the account be worth after 15 years?
Kala Reply
lim x to infinity e^1-e^-1/log(1+x)
given eccentricity and a point find the equiation
Moses Reply
12, 17, 22.... 25th term
Alexandra Reply
12, 17, 22.... 25th term
Akash
College algebra is really hard?
Shirleen Reply
Absolutely, for me. My problems with math started in First grade...involving a nun Sister Anastasia, bad vision, talking & getting expelled from Catholic school. When it comes to math I just can't focus and all I can hear is our family silverware banging and clanging on the pink Formica table.
Carole
I'm 13 and I understand it great
AJ
I am 1 year old but I can do it! 1+1=2 proof very hard for me though.
Atone
hi
Adu
Not really they are just easy concepts which can be understood if you have great basics. I am 14 I understood them easily.
Vedant
find the 15th term of the geometric sequince whose first is 18 and last term of 387
Jerwin Reply
I know this work
salma
The given of f(x=x-2. then what is the value of this f(3) 5f(x+1)
virgelyn Reply
hmm well what is the answer
Abhi
If f(x) = x-2 then, f(3) when 5f(x+1) 5((3-2)+1) 5(1+1) 5(2) 10
Augustine
how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
make 5/4 into a mixed number, make that a decimal, and then multiply 32 by the decimal 5/4 turns out to be
AJ
how
Sheref
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
ninjadapaul
20/(×-6^2)
Salomon
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
ninjadapaul
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
ninjadapaul
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
Salomon
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
Salomon
I got X =-6
Salomon
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
ninjadapaul
oops. ignore that.
ninjadapaul
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
ninjadapaul
hmm
Abhi
is it a question of log
Abhi
🤔.
Abhi
I rally confuse this number And equations too I need exactly help
salma
But this is not salma it's Faiza live in lousvile Ky I garbage this so I am going collage with JCTC that the of the collage thank you my friends
salma
Commplementary angles
Idrissa Reply
hello
Sherica
im all ears I need to learn
Sherica
right! what he said ⤴⤴⤴
Tamia
hii
Uday
hi
salma
hi
Ayuba
Hello
opoku
hi
Ali
greetings from Iran
Ali
salut. from Algeria
Bach
hi
Nharnhar
A soccer field is a rectangle 130 meters wide and 110 meters long. The coach asks players to run from one corner to the other corner diagonally across. What is that distance, to the nearest tenths place.
Kimberly Reply
Jeannette has $5 and $10 bills in her wallet. The number of fives is three more than six times the number of tens. Let t represent the number of tens. Write an expression for the number of fives.
August Reply
What is the expressiin for seven less than four times the number of nickels
Leonardo Reply
How do i figure this problem out.
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
why surface tension is zero at critical temperature
Shanjida
I think if critical temperature denote high temperature then a liquid stats boils that time the water stats to evaporate so some moles of h2o to up and due to high temp the bonding break they have low density so it can be a reason
s.
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Three modules on clear writing style: an introduction to the craft of argument, by joseph m. williams and gregory colomb. OpenStax CNX. Jul 17, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10551/1.1
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