Argumentative /Persuasive Reading & writing

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Argumentative /Persuasive Reading & writing

  • Reading an Argument
  • Considering Rhetorical Context
  • (Author,Audience,Date/Place of Publication)

Guidelines for Determining Rhetorical Context

  • Who wrote this argument,and what are his/her training,personal background,and political learning?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Where did it appear originally?
  • When was the argument written?
  • Why was the article written?

A Step-By-Step analysis of Toulmin Method of evaluation of logical pattern

  • Analyze the Claim
  • Identify the Claim
  • Look for Qualifiers: Absolute,Relative,or Universal /”typically” /“usually” /“most of the time”
  • Find the Exceptions
  • Summarize the Claim
  • Assess the arguer’s refutations
  • Note the Counter Arguments

Argumentation versus Persuasion

  • These words are often used interchangeably.
  • Argumentation: the process of forming reasons and of drawing conclusions and applying them to a case in discussion. An argument involves the process of establishing a claim and then proving it with the use of logical reasoning, examples, and research.
  • Persuasion: the tactical process of moving to a belief, position or a course of action.


  • Good argumentative writing is more defined when utilized with other forms of writing such as description, a short narrative, classification, cause and effect,comparison/contrast, etc.

Styles of argumentative of writing

  • Toulmin model: Follows the pattern of a claim (proposition/thesis), data (support) with qualifiers, warrant, and a concession.
  • Rogers’ model: Use of Rogerian arguments to come to a conclusion that mixes both views of the issue to reach a common ground.

the uses….

  • Everyday life
  • Workplace
  • Academic environment
  • Reading and Listening- (current events)

The basics of an argument

  • Your position and know the purpose of your essay
  • Analyze your audience
  • Reasons
  • Evidence: Research your topic


  • Write with sincerity towards audience
  • using an ethical appeal
  • Don’t write with an arrogance or with disregard to opposing views
  • Try starting in introduction, gaining confidence of audience
  • This approach will show your concern and fair-minded purpose

Writing an argumentative

  • Choose an interesting controversial issue
  • Focus on a question related to your topic
  • Choose a position
  • Acknowledge opposing positions
  • Investigate topic and get informed

Persuasive Essay Outline

  • I- Introduction:
      • A. “ Hook “
      • B. Background Information if necessary
      • C.Thesis or focus statement

Persuasive Essay Outline Contin.

Persuasive Outline Contin.

  • III.Second Argument or reason
  • IV. Third Argument
  • V. Opposing viewpoint
      • A Opposing point to your argument
      • B.Rebuttal to the opposing point
      • C. Elaboration: Syllogistic Logic
      • VI. Conclusion:
      • A. Summary of main points or reasons
      • B. Restate thesis statement
      • C. Comments or call to action

The Thesis…

  • Outlines and gives a clear and concise main idea of essay
  • Can’t be a declared fact (won’t be argumentable)
  • Declares something is fact, by providing evidence throughout essay
  • Supports a policy
  • Calls for action
  • Asserts value

Introduction in Argumentative/Persuasive essays include:

  • A” hook or grabber” to catch attention(Strong Statement:”Cigarettes are the number one cause of lung cancer in the world!”),(Quotations:E.Hubbard once said, “Truth is stronger than fiction.”), Statistics,anecdote,a question,exaggeration or outrageous statement:The whole world watched as the comet flew overhead.
  • Thesis or focus statement: Topic,stance,Purpose,scope,organization

Example Introduction:

  • [Grabber:Strong Statement]Of all the problems facing the environment today,the one that bothers me the most is global warming.Some scientists say that the earth is getting warmer because of the greenhouse effect.[Thesis]In this paper I will describe the greenhouse effect and whether the atmosphere is actually getting warmer.

THE BODY of a Persuasive

  • Provide evidence to support the opinion offered in the thesis statement
  • Use Deductive/Inductive reasoning to provide solid reasons to back your thesis
  • Elaborate with the use of statistics or research,examples,or real-life experiences
  • Clarify a position,draw comparison,make an analysis,draw an analogy,refute counter arguments,and generate hypothetical instances(cues:e.g. suppose that,what if,etc.)


  • Restate your thesis or focus statement
  • Summarize the main points by paraphrasing
  • Write a personal comment or call for action: with a prediction,with a question to draw reader’s own conclusion,with a recommendation stressing the actions or remedies that should be taken

General Guideline for Writing a Persuasive Essay

  • Have a firm opinion that you like your audience to accept
  • Begin with a grabber or hook
  • Offer evidence to support your opinion
  • Discuss and refute the opposing views
  • Conclude with a restatement of what you want the reader to do or believe

Obtaining information

  • By reading
  • Conversation with others
  • Use your own observations
  • Questionnaire
  • Periodicals
  • Always cite sources used
  • Make sure the information you receive is relevant and credible and valid


  • Includes:
  • Established Truths
  • Historical, scientific, and geographical facts
  • Authoritative point of view
  • Primary sources
  • Statistics
  • Personal experience/Examples

Managing evidence

  • Reliability
  • How much endorsing evidence?
  • Contradictory
  • How well established is evidence?
  • Does it support/fit your claim?
  • Allow it to be conclusive

The Three Persuasive Appeals

  • Logos:
  • Logic- the appeal to reason
  • Pathos:
  • Emotion- the appeal to emotion
  • Ethos:
  • Credibility- the appeal of one’s character

Logos: reasoning strategies

  • Induction: A process through which the premises provide some basis for the conclusion.
  • Deduction: A process through which the premises provide conclusive proof for the conclusion. Reductio ad Absurdum: (to reduce to absurdity) To question a position by showing that its consequence are problematic if carried to their logical end.

Questions of Credibility

  • Has the reader been able to rely on what you have said in the past? If they are unfamiliar with you…
  • Do you know what you’re talking about? Are you familiar with all sides of the issue?
  • Have you done your research on the issue?
  • Have you documented your research thoroughly and accurately?
  • Have you thoughtfully addressed the opposition?

Some Ways to Use the Three Appeals

  • Credibility
  • Logic
  • Emotion
  • Show that you are fair- and open-minded
  • Point to other “experts” or an authority other than yourself
  • Cite research
  • Show why people should listen to you and you believe
  • Rely primarily on facts
  • Use deductive or inductive reasoning to reach your conclusion
  • Use classical argument, including reason and evidence to support your claim
  • Use emotionally charged or highly connotative words
  • Appeal to peoples fears, concerns, passions, vanity, sense of justice, and so forth
  • Take advantage of rhythm and refrain in language


  • The simplest sequence of logical premises and conclusions
  • every syllogism contains at least three parts:
    • a major premise (global assumption)
    • a minor premise (specific claim)
    • a conclusion
    • IF A=B and B=C, then A=C


  • shorten version of syllogism
  • a syllogism without stating either the major or minor premise (it is implied)
  • less formal than the syllogism
  • sometimes more persuasive
  • are often “because” statements

Fallacies= mistakes made in the logic of arguments

  • Common fallacies found in arguments include:
  • Hasty Generalizations- a conclusion based on insufficient or biased evidence
  • Non Sequitur- “It does not follow”
  • Slippery slope- the snow ball effect
  • Card Stacking-presenting part of the claim
  • Stereotyping
  • Ad populum- an emotional appeal that speaks to positive (such as patriotism, religion, democracy) or negative (such as terrorism or fascism) concepts rather than the real issue at hand

Fallacies (cont.)

  • Either/Or
  • Begging the claim- conclusion that the writer should prove is validated within the claim( Circular argument)
  • Arguing Off the point
  • The argument ad Hominem- “attack the person’s character than their opinion”
  • Appeal to crowd
  • Guilt by association
  • Post Hoc, ergo Propter Hoc-”after this, therefore because of this”
  • Faulty analogy: assuming two unlike things are similar when in fact they are not
  • Red Herring

Avoid also…

  • Strawman tactics- pointing out and focusing on flimsy weaknesses of opposing side.
  • Anonymous authority- refers to a source of authority but does not name the source nor explain its legitimacy.
  • This will show that you are trying to prove your position by disregarding other facts.

True argument vs. valid argument

  • true argument- argument that has conclusion that people commonly consider to be fact based on their worldly experience or wide-spread belief
  • valid argument- argument that has a conclusion that logically follows its underlying assumption regardless of whether the assumption is true or not


  • Consider the objections of the opposing appeal
  • Do you capture the audience?
  • Is evidence appropriate to the argument?
  • Are the authorities qualified to be used as a source?
  • Is the proposition clearly stated?
  • Is it free of fallacies?

Tips of writing an essay

  • Avoid emotional language
  • Be able to determine difference between a logical conclusion and an emotional point of view
  • Don’t make up evidence
  • Cite your sources
  • Make an outline- DO THE WRITING PROCESS
  • Be prepared to defend your side by knowing the strongest arguments for the other side.


  • Restate your position.
  • Summarize your main points.
  • Predict the consequences if it does or does not prevail.
  • Prepare to end your essay possibly with an emotional appeal.
  • The End!

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