16 The What-Why-How of Argument
What is it?
Why do we do it?
- First, you would put together a list of reasons on why the current system is not correct and should be changed. You then present this argument to those that need to hear it (fellow students, teachers, administrators…etc) your audience, in the hope that they will agree with your reasoning.
- Once you have convinced them that they should agree with you then you can develop another argument as to what should be done; some suggested course of action that should be taken to fix the problem.
How do we do it?
- refers to solid reasoning which usually takes the shape or form of numerical data, statistics, logical supporting points…etc. It can also include personal experience or expert testimony.
Purdue OWL Vidcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zCutT8QyJo
- refers to the credibility of your sources as well as you and the way you present the information. What makes your sources believable? Is it education, experience…etc. Do you present the information fairly in that you consider more than just one point of view? Do you counter opposing views reasonably?
Purdue OWL Vidcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxshtUjnZM0
Lastly is which is the emotional aspect of reasoning. Most arguments can be associated with the emotional desires of “want” or “need.” Personal anecdotes are one method making emotional appeals. Emotion is a powerful tool but one must be careful not to overwhelm the reader with it.
Purdue OWL Vidcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekHEUzpiEZw
Having all three of the appeals working for you places you in the best position of having your argument listened to. One must think of these Rhetorical Appeals as tools by which we build our argument. How well you use the appeals decides on whether or not your argument will be accepted.
- All human beings are mortal.
- Socrates is a human being.
- Socrates is therefore mortal.
Induction: is the process by which we take an observation and apply it to other cases in order to reach some form of conclusion.
An example might be:
- If we observe that the bite of a blue lizard is fatal.
- We might infer from that observation that all blue lizards bites are fatal.
- To go even further, one might generalize that all lizard bites may be fatal.
The Basic Argument
The concept of a basic argument consists of a simple claim with reasons or evidence. As you move forward in your studies in composition and argument, you will learn about the more advanced forms of argument, the Toulmin and Rogerian, which contain additional parts and will be discussed later in this chapter. For now let’s focus on just the basic structure of an argument of claim and evidence.
Part 1: THE CLAIM
- What are you examining? (2) Why are you looking at the issue? (3) How will you show the reader what you need to?
A sample claim/thesis might look something like this: Example: (WHAT) Global warming (WHY) is creating a dangerous environment by (HOW) rising temperatures, shifting winds and higher water levels.
Part 2: THE EVIDENCE
PART 3: THE CONCLUSION
Example Paper (may vary by instructor)
Professor Jane Doe
English 101 Section XXXX
14 July 2019
Keep the Number Away!
Introduction: (GRABBER) Many of us hate the day when we are ushered into a room and told to sit there and wait for the word: “Begin.” We look at the blank piece of paper and wish that it would fill up with the right kind of answers . (Background) Test taking, the process by which students are given a form of measure to test their knowledge on a particular subject has long been the way by which individuals are judged to be qualified for a degree, job or some form of position. But there is much debate about the usefulness of the information obtained. (THESIS) The dangers of test taking can be examined by looking at examples of the pressure associated with the event, changes in behavior and the negative effects we will see the potential pitfalls that can be encountered by people because of placing so much emphasis on a single number.
Evidence 1: (TOPIC SENTENCE-TIES TO THESIS POINT) Many people have been in that room and felt the pressure that test taking can place on an individual . This physical and psychological pressure results in a portrayal of knowledge that may not be an accurate indication of what a person truly knows about a subject. (SOURCE INTRODUCTION) Dr. White, from the Test Research Center at the University of Kansas with a doctorate in Education with a focus on evaluation and simulation of testing environments states, “Stressed by time and other constraints of the testing environment, students are forced into a performance that does not accurately reflect correctly what could be produced in a non-stressed environment and therefore results in skewed and inaccurate results .” (TIES BACK TO THESIS POINT) This statement suggests the effect that the pressure can have on an accurate test result. (GREATER PURPOSE OR LARGER CONCERN OF PAPER) However these results are used as a benchmark for further education and employment and can set an individual on a path that they may not be able to change.
Evidence 2: (TOPIC SENTENCE-TIES TO THESIS POINT) Behavior is often a true gauge of measurement as to effectiveness of a methodology. (SOURCE INTRODUCTION) Researcher John Smith of Yake University, a professor of twenty years of standing, publishing credits known for unbiased and careful assertions and possessing a PhD in testing and certifications recently studied a class testing environment . It was noted by a team of researchers under his supervision that when studying the testing environment that “a student’s behavior changed significantly once they entered the testing room,” (Smith). Further, prior to entering the room and before the test began, conversation exchange was fluid and dynamic. Once inside the testing area, communication became: “50% less as well as chaotic and random” (Smith). (TIES BACK TO THESIS POINT) This data supports that there is some form of communicative breakdown that occurs once a student enters into the perceived testing area and contributes to lower interaction and less positive stimulation and therefore lower test scores. (GREATER PURPOSE OR LARGER CONCERN FOR PAPER) Once again we can see how the score or assigned number can injure a person’s self-esteem when dealing with a test of knowledge leading to further damage of their psyche.
Evidence 3: (TOPIC SENTENCE-TIES TO THESIS POINT) If there was any doubt about the negative affect that test taking can have on an individual’s performance the research has shown otherwise . (SOURCE INTRODUCTION) In tests conducted by Dr. Jones, a senior member and scholar emeritus of the Holmes and Jamison Institute, a leading research facility in the United States for the past twenty-five years : “3 out of 5 students performed higher in knowledge and ability when they were in a stress free environment” (Jones). (TIES BACK TO THESIS POINT) In further studies, it was also suggested that once the parameters for the testing had been changed more students performed not only above the “anticipated range but even 25% higher” (Jones). (GREATER PURPOSE OR LARGER CONCERN FOR PAPER) These tests suggest that the removal of the stressful environment not only helps but also raises the level of performance and thereby giving a more accurate depiction of student knowledge and ability.
Conclusion : (RESTATE MAIN IDEA OF PAPER-THESIS) Test taking has long been the measure by which we judge the intelligence and capability of people. Yet the question looms as to whether or not this is the most effective way in which to measure potential achievement. (SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE) As shown through experience of students, the observation of researchers and other studies performed on this area, many will agree that the current system has problems in that one test does not always reflect a true measurement of ability of a person. We see much better performance when the stressful environment has been removed and student are allowed to interact and communicate freely with testers . (CRITICAL THINKING-GREATER EFFECT) Until we remove the false parameters that testing is conducted under then we continue to live a lie and allow knowledge and talent to be disregarded and loss hopes for a prosperous future all because of a single number.
(Don’t forget your works cited list!)
One of Aristotle's three appeals. Logos is the appeal to reason. Evidence like facts, statistics, or expert testimony provide logos appeals. An author's reasoning may also provide a logos appeal. The audience is persuaded by logos because the argument makes sense.
One of Aristotle's three appeals. Ethos is an appeal to credibility. It could be an author demonstrating education or experience, but it's also present by considering opposing views fairly. The audience will be persuaded because they trust the author.
One of Aristotle's three appeals. Pathos is the appeal to emotions. Often this means appealing to an audience's desires: advertisements often do this using a person's self-image. An author may try to make her audience angry or afraid to gain their cooperation. The audience is persuaded because they share the same feelings as the author.