Types of Claims Understanding Claims



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Types of Claims

Understanding Claims

  • Claims form the basis of any argument
  • Categories for claims helps us understand the purposes and special features of argument
  • Allows us to predict and anticipate features of the type of argument presented

Claims and Thesis Statements

  • Every thesis statement will make a claim about your topic.
  • Understanding the types of claims you can make will lead to more focused and effective thesis statements.

Get a Sense of the Purpose and Parts of Argument

Types of Claims

  • Claims of fact or definition
  • Claims of comparison
  • Claims of cause
  • Claims of value
  • Claims of policy

Claims of Fact

  • Questions answered by claims of fact:
    • Did it happen?
    • It is true?
    • Does it exist?
    • Is it a fact?
  • Types of support
    • Factual
    • Inductive reasoning – cites examples and then draws probable conclusions
    • Analogies– comparisons
    • Signs – past or present state of affairs
    • Expert opinion

Claims of Fact

  • Possible organizational strategies
    • Chronological order
    • Topical order
    • Often stated near the beginning of the argument

Claims of Definition

  • Questions Answered:
    • What is it?
    • What is it like?
    • How should it be classified?
    • How should it be interpreted?
    • How does its usual meaning change in a particular context?

Claims of Definition

  • Types of support
    • Reliable authorities and accepted sources
    • Analogies
  • Organization Strategies
    • Comparison-and-contrast
    • Topical
    • Explain the controversy; give reasons for accepting one view

Claims of Cause

  • Questions Answered:
    • What caused it?
    • Where did it come from?
    • Why did it happen?
    • What are the effects?
    • What will probably be the results over the short and long term?

Claims of Cause

  • Types of Support
    • Factual data
    • Statistics
    • Analogies
      • Literal
      • Historical
    • Signs of certain causes
    • Induction
    • Deduction

Claims of Value

  • Questions Answered:
    • Is it good or bad?
    • How bad?
    • How good?
    • Of what worth is it?
    • Is it moral or immoral?
    • Who thinks so?
    • What do those people value?
    • What values or criteria should I use to determine its goodness or badness?
    • Are my values different from other people’s values or from the author’s values?

Claims of Value

  • Types of Support
    • Appeals to values
    • Motivational appeals
    • Analogies
      • Literal
      • Figurative
    • Quotations from authorities
    • Induction
    • Signs
    • Definitions

Claims of Value

  • Organization Strategies
    • Applied criteria
    • Topical organization
    • Narrative structure

Claims of Policy

  • Questions Answered:
    • What should we do?
    • How should we act?
    • What should future policy be?
    • How can we solve this problem?
    • What concrete course of action should we pursue to solve the problem?
  • Claims of policy tend to focus on the future

Claims of Policy

  • Types of support
    • Data
    • Statistics
    • Moral and commonsense appeals
    • Motivational appeals
    • Appeals to values
    • Literal analogies
    • Argument from authority
    • Definition
    • Deduction

Claims of Policy

  • Organization Strategies
    • Problem-Solution
      • Problem described in sufficient detail so audience will want a solution
      • Solution is spelled out
        • Show how solution will work
        • Show how solution is superior to any alternatives
      • Visualization of how matters will be improved
      • Ends with action step

Claims in Life

  • Two or more types of claims may be present in one essay
  • Look for the predominant claim
    • The main purpose of the argument
    • Types of support that may be used
    • Possible organization strategies
  • Claims follow a predictable sequence

Value of the Claims

  • Useful to identify the claim and main purpose
  • Help identify minor purposes
  • Analyze issues
  • Write a claim about an issue


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