The critical reader must be able to evaluate arguments. When you evaluate an argument (a set of claims), you determine its value or persuasiveness. To be able to do a good job evaluating arguments, you need to know what an argument is and how an argument is put together.
An argument is a claim that is supported by reasons or evidence. When an author tries to persuade the reader that something is true or correct by presenting supporting reasons or evidence, an argument is being made. This means that an argument is different from a statement.
Persuasion The author is trying to convince the reader that a claim is true by giving supporting reasons or evidence.
The Claim The claim of an argument is the point of the argument. When an author makes an argument,it’s the claim that the author is trying to persuade the reader to accept as true.
Analysis To evaluate an argument, you need to analyze it. When you analyze an argument, you break it down into its parts and examine them by themselves and in relation to the other parts of the argument.
Argument. First, identify the argument’s claim. What is the conclusion the author is trying to persuade the reader to accept as true? What is the point of the argument?
Step 2 for Analyzing an Argument Identify the reason or evidence the author gives for support. Claim Evidence Evidence Evidence 1 2 3
Step 3 for Analyzing an Argument Think critically and skeptically about the reasons or evidence that the argument presents. What is the source of the evidence? Is the evidence true? Do the reasons or evidence defeat or weaken the argument?
Step 4 for Analyzing an Argument Ask yourself how well the reasons or evidence support the claim. If the evidence is weak or false, then the argument will be less persuasive or even invalid. If the evidence is poor, the argument will be less persuasive or even invalid.