-Be able to recognise and identify the recurring techniques used in persuasive writing and comment on their effectiveness.
By the end of today we will:
Understand the purpose of persuasive writing
- To begin to develop my understanding of the various techniques used in persuasive writing.
Purpose of Persuasive Writing
To change a person/ group of people’s way of thinking.
To influence someone into accepting your opinion on an issue.
You are required to argue FOR or AGAINST something. It is not a neutral writing piece.
THERE ARE THREE WAYS WE SHOULD TRY TO APPEAL TO OUR AUDIENCE
APPEAL TO REASON
Most people believe themselves to be reasonable people, so appealing to a person’s sense of reason is the most effective means of convincing them to change their way of thinking e.g. ‘if we don’t do this…then…)
APPEAL TO CHARACTER
Appealing to your audience’s sense of what is right and fair can be a powerful persuasive device, e.g. ‘like you, I share a sense of horror and repulsion for what is happening…’
APPEAL TO EMOTIONS
People can be persuaded by the careful and considered use of emotional bribery. ‘tug on their heart strings’
Showing your own passion is also an effective way of rousing emotion in others.
WHAT TECHNIQUES WE CAN USE TO APPEAL TO OUR AUDIENCE?
P-ersonal Pronouns: you, me, we, us-creating bond with the reader
E-motive Language- words which can create an emotional response in the reader
R-hetorical Questions-needs no response- used to focus the attention on the answer or the main point of the argument.
S-tatistics and Facts- People are suckers for statistics and facts – these appeal to someone’s reason.
U-sing an authority figure- to make your argument sound spot on. Make up a name!
A-lliteration and Anecdotes-add alliteration to make memorable phrases- use Anecdotes(short stories) to bring your argument to life.
D-escription and imagery- use metaphors and similes etc. to describe an anecdote
FACEBOOK AND OTHER ‘SOCIAL NETOWRKING SITES.’ – RIGHT OR WRONG?
SHOULD COSMETICS BE TESTED ON ANIMALS?
SHOULD THE SALE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS BE ILLEGAL?
SHOULD DYING PEOPLE BE KEPT ON LIFE SUPPORT?
ARE VIDEO GAMES TOO VIOLENT?
SIZE ZERO MODELIING – SHOULD THIS BE BANNED?
SHOULD THE LEGAL AGE FOR DRINKING BE INCREASED?
SHOULD ARMY SERVICE BE COMPULSORY?
GENETIC ENGINEERING: SHOULD WE BE ABLE TO CREATE A ‘DESIGNER BABY’?
Once you have decided on a topic, the next step you have to take is to decide exactly WHAT you will be arguing.
You will need to compile arguments for AND against your chosen topic.
However , your focus at this stage are the arguments FOR which will make your essay persuasive, and convince others to share your opinion.
Step 1 – Decide your point of view on the issue
Let us say that in your persuasive essay you intend to persuade the reader that the tax on tobacco should be increased so that the demand for cigarettes will be reduced. You start the note preparation with the simple statement:
I think that the tax on tobacco should be increased.
All points made in the essay are written to convince the reader of this view.
STEP 2 - Create points that support your point of view
It is unfair to tax people who are addicted to tobacco
Step 5 - Research
If you have followed STEP 1 to STEP 4 you are ready to find "Types of Evidence" to support the points you have chosen to develop.
Types of Evidence
There are many types of evidence you can use in your persuasive essay to support the points made by each side.
You can use any type as many times as you want, although it always shows skill to use more than one type, maybe even three or four types. Being good at using several types of evidence makes a stronger essay and shows more evidence handling skills.
(All the examples are based on a persuasive essay arguing for an increase in tobacco tax.)
Anecdotal evidence is 'story' evidence. A story is told and the facts of the story are the evidence. A story is used to back-up the point made by one side. It is important that the evidence is true (remember where you get it from as you will have to reference it in a bibliography at the end of your essay)
Point – Less smoking means less demand for NHS
Anecdotal Evidence: Ex-smoker Michelle Boisvert suffers from degenerative disc disease (DDD). Diagnosed at the age of 33, she has since learned that cigarette smoking is a leading risk factor for DDD. Michelle says, "I was diagnosed with severe DDD in 1998 when I was 33 years old and still a smoker. Although genetic predisposition is the number 1 risk factor, a growing number of studies indicate that smoking is a leading risk factor for DDD, both in the lumbar discs (lower back) and cervical discs (neck)."
You can see that the anecdotal evidence can be used to support the point that, because if Michelle Boisvert had found cigarettes too expensive then she would not have smoked. She would not then have to seek expensive and on going treatment for her serious illness.
Facts can be used to support points in a discursive essay. (Again, remember where you got the facts from - the source - as you will need to reference your sources in the bibliography.)
If you use facts, try to use more than one. A series of facts supports a point far better than just one fact. Very rarely can one fact support a point, some may call it a coincidence rather than real evidence!
Point: Higher tobacco taxes means more income for the government.
Factual Evidence: According to Government figures, in 2011 the UK government received £11 billion by taxing tobacco products. This is a major contribution to Education spending which is £90 billion. Year-on-year tax rises have slowly increased the amount that government earns.
By piling on the facts that support a point, you make the point stronger and more convincing. It also shows that you are handling evidence well
'There are lies, damned lies and statistics'. This was said by former British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. However, if used correctly, statistics can be used as powerful evidence as they seem like scientific truth.
When using statistics it is crucial that you understand what they show. It is all too easy to use statistics incorrectly and end up contradicting the point you want them to support.
It is possible to use statistics that are weaker than others. The fact that the statistic isn't clear about how many smokers will die in middle age makes it slightly weaker.
The problem with statistics is that they are only as accurate as what can be written down and recorded. There is no context for much of the figures (10% of the statistic about smokers may be non-smoking related). But statistics can be powerful evidence, especially if the recording is very tight. For example, pass or fail rates in exams - it is known exactly how many people sit the exam, how many pass and how many fail.
Using an authority figure
Using a random person’s opinion to support your argument is rarely effective…
However, when an opinion or belief comes from someone with expertise and experience in the area you are examining then it becomes stronger. The opinions of a doctor can carry greater weight with people as evidence than the opinions of non-experts with little experience in the area.
Points in your essay can be supported by opinions and beliefs - the more expert and experienced in the area of your persuasive essay, the better.
Point: Smoking means more demands on NHS resources.
Evidence: A study commissioned by the British Heart Foundation has found that smoking costs the NHS £5 billion a year. Study leader Dr Steven Allender, said the increased costs were largely due to increasing expense of treatment on the NHS with better treatment and technologies, 'The story is not so much the increase (in costs) but that £5bn is an enormous number regardless'. Betty McBride of the British Heart Foundation said, 'This is money being drained out of the NHS as a direct result of something we have the power to prevent'.
The opinion of experts can carry weight and support points more effectively.
When points are made about what might happen then using opinions of experienced experts may be the only evidence available.
Creating a Title
The title of your persuasive essay will be the first words the marker reads. Your title sends a strong signal to the marker about the quality of your essay.
A title can:
• create immediate impact • show your intelligence • give information
• make the reader think • provoke emotion - anger, shock, disgust
• be humorous • convey your opinion • make your issue clear
Success Criteria for introduction:
Your topic should be clear and be established early in your introduction.
Show an awareness of audience. You are not simply expressing YOUR opinion (although this is very important) You should make it clear the opinion/view which you are writing to undermine.
Abortion is the deliberate killing of the weakest and most defenseless among us. Unfortunately, for the last few decades, the practice has been recognized as a fundamental human right by the highest court of the land. Many people are fervent supporters of abortion. Their reasons for support are varied. However, I believe that support for abortion is not possible for those who understand our dignity as human persons under God. We were made by God, and it is from Him that we derive our worth.
Abortion is the deliberate killing of the weakest and most defenceless among us. Unfortunately, for the last few decades, the practice has been recogniSed as a fundamental human right by the highest court of the land. Many people are fervent supporters of abortion. Their reasons for support are varied. However, I believe that support for abortion is not possible for those who understand our dignity as human person. Why should we have the right to take another person’s life?
Every woman should have the freedom to decide whether they want to bring a child into the world. There are often numerous complicated circumstances surrounding a woman in this position that are often overlooked or dismissed by anti-abortion activists. Although such people argue the immorality of abortion based on how it supposedly neglects to acknowledge the human rights of the unborn foetus,. However, we need to ask each other: is it not more immoral to dictate to a grown woman the decisions she should make over her own body? Where does this leave the woman’s human rights?