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Something About Me


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  • Rationale: Welcome to “Organizing Your Argument.” This presentation is designed to introduce your students to the elements of an organized essay, including the introduction, the thesis, body paragraphs, topic sentences, counterarguments, and the conclusion. The twenty-one slides presented here are designed to aid the facilitator in an interactive presentation about constructing a well-organized argument. This presentation is ideal for the introduction of argument to a composition course, the beginning of a research unit, or the assignment of a written argument. This presentation may be supplemented with OWL handouts, including “Developing an Outline” (, and “The Paragraph” ( Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click, unless otherwise noted in bold at the bottom of each notes page. Writer and Designer: Jennifer Liethen Kunka Contributors: Muriel Harris, Karen Bishop, Bryan Kopp, Matthew Mooney, David Neyhart, and Andrew Kunka Developed with resources courtesy of the Purdue University Writing Lab Grant funding courtesy of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center at Purdue University © Copyright Purdue University, 2000.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Organizing Your Argument A presentation brought to you by the Purdue University Writing Lab
    • 2. What is an argument?
      • An argument involves the process of establishing a claim and then proving it with the use of logical reasoning, examples, and research.
    • 3. Why is organization important in building an argument?
      • Guides an audience through your reasoning process
      • Offers a clear explanation of each argued point
      • Demonstrates the credibility of the writer
    • 4. Organizing your argument
      • Title
      • Introduction
        • Thesis statement
      • Body Paragraphs
        • Constructing Topic Sentences
        • Building Main Points
        • Countering the Opposition
      • Conclusion
    • 5. Title--why do you need one?
      • Introduces the topic of discussion to the audience
      • Generates reader interest in the argument
    • 6. Creating a Title
      • Try to grab attention by
        • offering a provocative image
        • picking up on words or examples offered in the body or conclusion of the paper
        • asking a question
      • Avoid titles that are too general or lack character
    • 7. Considering Titles
      • Imagine you just wrote a paper offering solutions to the problem of road rage. Which do you consider to be the best title?
          • Road Rage
          • Can’t Drive 55
          • Road Rage: Curing Our Highway Epidemic
    • 8. What is an introduction?
      • Acquaints the reader with the topic and purpose of the paper
      • Generates the audience’s interest in the topic
      • Offers a plan for the ensuing argument
    • 9. Methods for Constructing an Introduction
      • personal anecdote
      • example-real or hypothetical
      • question
      • quotation
      • shocking statistics
      • striking image
    • 10. What is a thesis statement?
      • The MOST IMPORTANT SENTENCE in your paper
      • Lets the reader know the main idea of the paper
      • Answers the question: “What am I trying to prove?”
      • Not a factual statement, but a claim that has to be proven throughout the paper
    • 11. Role of the thesis statement
      • The thesis statement should guide your reader through your argument.
      • The thesis statement is generally located in the introduction of the paper.
      • A thesis statement may also be located within the body of the paper or in the conclusion, depending upon the purpose or argument of the paper.
    • 12. Which thesis statement is the most effective for an argument about the need for V-chips in television sets?
      • Parents, often too busy to watch television shows with their families, can monitor their children’s viewing habits with the aid of the V-chip.
      • To help parents monitor their children’s viewing habits, the V-chip should be a required feature for television sets sold in the U.S.
      • This paper will describe a V-chip and examine the uses of the V-chip in American-made television sets.
    • 13. Body Paragraphs and Topic Sentences
      • Body paragraphs build upon the claims made in the introductory paragraph(s)
      • Organize with the use of topic. sentences that illustrate the main idea of each paragraph.
      • Offering a brief explanation of the history or recent developments in your topic within the early body paragraphs can help the audience to become familiarized with your topic and the complexity of the issue.
    • 14. Body Paragraphs
      • Paragraphs may be ordered in several ways, depending upon the topic and purpose of your argument:
        • General to specific information
        • Most important point to least important point
        • Weakest claim to strongest claim
    • 15. Offering a Counterargument
      • Addressing the claims of the opposition is an important component in building a convincing argument.
      • It demonstrates your credibility as a writer--you have researched multiple sides of the argument and have come to an informed decision.
    • 16. Offering a Counterargument
      • Counterarguments may be located at various locations within your body paragraphs.
      • You may choose to
        • build each of your main points as a contrast to oppositional claims.
        • offer a counterargument after you have articulated your main claims.
    • 17. Counterarguing effectively
      • Consider your audience when you offer your counterargument.
      • Conceding to some of your opposition’s concerns can demonstrate respect for their opinions.
      • Remain tactful yet firm.
        • Using rude or deprecating language can cause your audience to reject your position without carefully considering your claims.
    • 18. Incorporating research into the body paragraphs
      • Researched material can aid you in proving the claims of your argument and disproving oppositional claims.
      • Be sure to use your research to support the claims made in your topic sentences--make your research work to prove your argument!
    • 19. Conclusion -- The Big Finale
      • Your conclusion should reemphasize the main points made in your paper.
      • You may choose to reiterate a call to action or speculate on the future of your topic, when appropriate.
      • Avoid raising new claims in your conclusion.
    • 20. Organizing your argument
      • Title
      • Introduction
      • Body Paragraphs
        • Constructing Topic Sentences
        • Building Main Points
        • Countering the Opposition
      • Conclusion
    • 21. Where can you go for additional help with organizing your argument?
      • Purdue University Writing Lab
      • Heavilon 226
      • Grammar Hotline: (765) 494-3723
      • Check our web site: http://owl. english . purdue . edu
      • Email brief questions: [email_address]
      Purdue University Writing Lab