The Researched Argument – Step by Step Instructions
CASE STUDY —— BRIAN BANKS,THE AMERICAN FOOTBALLER
I. Two Paragraph Introduction
A. Paragraph One – Attention Grabber
This should be an extended example (an illustrative story) with no editorial comments. JUST TELL THE STORY. Tell what the police did, what the perpetrator did, what the child did… do not use prejudicial adjectives like “illegal” or “brutal.” Do not comment on your abhorrence of a particular act. Simply tell the story using descriptive language.
Generally, the attention grabber will appeal more to Pathos than to Logos, although this does not have to be the case.
B. Paragraph Two
Begin with a sentence that provides a transition from the extended example to the background information about the problem you are writing about. This bridge between the attention grabber and the rest of your introduction will explain the significance of the example with regard to the larger problem. For example: Unfortunately,WalterMcMillian’s story is not an isolated example of the racial discrimination prevalent in the enforcement of the law in states that were former members of the Confederacy.
C. Provide Background Information
Lay the ground work on the issues: Explain the basic problem or controversy, perhaps including a little history.
D. Two-Part Proposition
This two-clause statement will serve as the thesis of your paper. It should be the last sentence of your two-paragraph introduction.
Though some feel this way….,(opposition view) in fact, the reality is that ( your thesis here).
Try to find a strong quotation from a particular spokesperson from the opposition. That is stronger than putting words in the mouths of your readers that they may not feel truly express their views.
II. Establish common ground.
Your common ground might be a simple statement in the two-paragraph introduction. On the other hand, if it is a complicated concept, you may need a transition paragraph to express it. Either way, establishing common ground with your audience should occur as close to the beginning of your paper as possible.
Although people disagree, what are the values both sides have in common that make them both anxious to come to a good resolution of the problem?
You need to establish your credibility and authority as a thinker about your topic. If you have a personal connection to the issue, you may want to use your story as your extended example in your introduction. If you have not done this, then it is a good idea to explain your connection to the topic in a paragraph toward the beginning of the body of the paper.
You may not have a personal connection to the issue. Even so, it is important to establish your tone, style, and credentials—tell the reader why you are competent to write this argument. Stress what you have in common with the reader. If there are experts who back up what you believe, use a quotation to show that your credibility is strong.
IV. Opposition Section of Paper
For a Rogerian Argument, the opposition point of view generally is presented in a sympathetic and respectful way before the presentation of an alternative and (in the writer’s opinion) preferable way of viewing the issue and resolving the problem.
For a more traditional Aristotelian Argument, the opposition view is presented in a very succinct way after the writer’s most cogent and power points have been made in support of his or her thesis.
Another way to handle opposing views is to sprinkle them in throughout the paper. Sometimes a writer will begin a paragraph by explaining an opposition view on a particular point and then proceed to refute that view, presenting a major point in support of the thesis.
You are the only person who can decide on an organization plan for your own paper.
Regardless of where you place the opposition viewpoint, remember that it is important to present both sides. An argument paper must adequately acknowledge the opposition point of view (and not just in the introduction).
Accurately depict any valid points made by the opposition. State the position of the opposition in an empathetic respectful way. Sometimes you can use a quotation from a leader of the opposition to show respect for their argument.
Refute ideas that you consider fallacious.
For more guidance on how to handle the introduction of opposition views, go to that “Introducing the Opposition” section of the handouts, which follows these step-by-step instructions.
V. Primary Points Supporting Your Position on the Issue
It will likely take several paragraphs to accomplish this. Use the scratch outline that you created for your side of the argument to organize this part of the paper.
Utilize a variety of evidence of various types. Do not neglect to provide examples of your points. Anecdotes can be very powerful. If statistics are available, they will provide logical backup to your argument. You should be sure to use quotations from experts who confirm your point of view.
Reinforce your central claim.
Save something important to say in your introduction.
Follow your argument to a logical end point. Show how those points fit together to lead to your claim.
If possible, end with a call-to-action: Let your reader know what you want from him or her. Ask your reader to do something specific in support of your goals.
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