Argumentative WritingAdapted from a presentation by Dr. Barry Laga, Professor of English,Mesa State College, Grand Junction, CO
Purpose of ArgumentCorrect a misguided or wrong claimEncourage people to act or think differently Argument: A reasoned series of thoughts intended to support a claim.
Three QuestionsWhat’s your claim?What’s your warrant? (WHY do you think so?)Where is your evidence? (SHOW me!)
Basic Outline One Paragraph Argue against another viewpoint Claim Clarify Warrant Logic Example Provide Evidence Testimony/Data Call to Action/Restate OpinionConclusion End with a BANG!
ClaimArgue against another viewA younger, dumber version of yourself. “I used to think that...”A hypothetical person or group. “Some students think that...”A real person or group. “Mrs. Doss believes ...”
Claim IntroductionIntroduce your topic as you argue against a viewyou disagree with. Do both in the same sentence.Some of my classmates think that … but I believe that…Many people think that…. however, I would say that…Mrs. Doss thinks that …, but if we think carefully we’ll see that…At first glance, we might think that… but if we look closer we’ll see that…I used to think that... but now I realize that...
Claim Introduction Basic Student Example…My district thinks that physicaleducation should be dropped in orderto spend more time in writing class, butI believe that P.E. is necessary forgood health.
Claim ClarifyUse phrases like In other words... Put another way... What I’m trying to say is that ... That is, …
Claim Basic Student Example… My district thinks that physical education should be dropped inClaim order to spend more time in writing class, but I believe that P.E. is necessary for good health. What I’m trying to say is that eliminating P.E would hurt Clarify student learning because you have to be healthy to learn.
Warrant Use LogicThis makes sense because…Running for an hour makes no sense at all. (Explain)If…. then …This is so logical. (How so? Explain.)Changing our schedule is an illogical idea. (Explain)It’s like... (Use an analogy)
Warrant Use Logic Basic Student Example…It makes no sense to get rid ofP.E. because many kids need itto release excess energy andwithout P.E. they would bedisruptive in class.
Warrant Use an ExampleFor example…A good example of this is…I remember when...My friend is a good example of …This reminds me of Susan B. Anthony who …
Warrant Hypothetical ExampleA “hypothetical” example is an imaginaryexample. It’s an example you create. Itdidn’t really happen.What if…Imagine…
Warrant Real ExampleA “real” example is an experiencethat happened to you or to someoneyou know. Real examples includestories about people or events in thepast. They may be your friends,people you have heard about in thenews, or people in history.
Warrant Literary ExampleUse examples from stories, poems,novels, fables, etc. You could use HarryPotter, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, orthe preacher in The Giver.
Warrant Example Basic Student ExampleImagine going to a school where therewere no P.E. classes, and you werestuck in a desk all day. Children wouldbe bored out of their minds and wouldlong to just run, jump and play.
Provide Evidence TestimonyQuote an authority to reinforce your idea: Eye-Witness Expert Well-Respected Non-Expert Proverbs
Provide Evidence DataData has to do with numbers: Statistics Polls Survey Results Percentages
Provide Evidence DataGather data through research:Authoritative websites and on-line sourcesAlmanacsEncyclopediasStatistical-oriented studiesYour own surveys or fieldwork to create your own data
Provide Evidence: Writing Strategies Lead Into the Quote Use phrases like... According to our principal, “...” Many experts agree. X points out that, “...” This is not an isolated example. Dr. X tells us “…” In the words of Noble Prize winner Toni Morrison, “ ...” Basketball star Michael Jordan reminds us that “...”
Provide Evidence: Writing Strategies Lead Out Of the Quote Use phrases like… As Mr. Smith points out... What is important to notice here is ... What we should see in this quote is that ... Dr. Smith makes sense, especially when she... What is obvious here is that ... In other words, Malcolm X is saying that ...
Provide Evidence Testimony Basic Student ExampleLead The National Association of Sport and In Physical Education tells us, “physical education is an integral part of the total education of every child”. This quote Lead suggests that a good education goes Out far beyond reading, writing and math.
Provide Evidence Data Basic Student ExampleLead According to an article in the journal of In “Active Living Research”, studies involving 58,000 students between 1967 and 2006 show that kids who are more physically active do better academically. What is obvious here is that kids need Lead P.E. to do well in other subjects. Out
ConcludeOne sentence summary. Use a signpost to indicate that you plan to conclude. Try something along the lines of ... In sum, ... In short, ... As I’ve just said...
Conclusion Strategies Call to ActionPresent a “carrot” or a “stick.” We have a choice to make. We can either do X and [this will happen] or we can do Y [and this will happen]. I hope we will choose wisely, etc. Answer... “So what?”Testimony: Well-respected non-expert We should remember the words of Thomas Jefferson who said, “…” Expert Let’s not forget what Dr. Jones told us, “ ...” Proverb We should keep in mind the ancient proverb, “...”
Conclusion Call to Action Basic Student ExampleIn short, we have a choice to make. We canget rid of P.E. and have unhappy studentswho are not motivated to learn, or we cankeep P.E and have healthy students who arefit in both body and mind. Let’s make theright choice for our students and keepPhysical Education in school.
Blog Ready: Add Hypertext Definitions, Linktribution My district thinks that physical education should be dropped in order to spendmore time in writing class, but I believe that P.E. is necessary for good health. WhatI’m trying to say is that eliminating P.E. would hurt student learning because youhave to be healthy to learn. It makes no sense to get rid of P.E. because many kidsneed it to release excess energy and without P.E. they would be disruptive in class.Imagine going to a school where there were no P.E. classes, and you were stuck ina desk all day. Children would be bored out of their minds and would long to justrun, jump and play. The National Association of Sport and Physical Education tellsus, “physical education is an integral part of the total education of every child”. Thisquote suggests that a good education goes far beyond reading, writing and math.According to an article in the journal of “Active Living Research”, studies involving58,000 students between 1967 and 2006 show that kids who are more physicallyactive do better academically. What is obvious here is that kids need P.E. to dowell in other subjects. In short, we have a choice to make. We can get rid of P.E.and have unhappy students who are not motivated to learn, or we can keep P.E.and have healthy students who are fit in both body and mind. Let’s make the rightchoice for our students and keep Physical Education in school.
For PracticeYour state has decided to pass a law thatmakes thirteen (13) the legal driving age.Explain whether or not this law is a goodidea.Your principal has decided that students atEMS are overweight. Students must nowrun or bike during the last hour of school.Is this a good way to solve the problem?Explain your answer.
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