Argument/Persuasion Essay Instructions TOPIC – GUN CONTROL Should there be restrictions on gun ownership? Should the government require background checks and deny citizens the right to purchase AK47 rifles or extended clips? What is Argument? Dealing with Reasonable Differences. Essentially, an argument is a debate with two opposing sides. Those reasonable differences usually involve an issue. Issues are arguable points that people make when reasonable differences exist. Analyzing Issues. To take part in a controversy—to have your say—you need to first understand why speakers disagree and what they have at stake. To enter a controversy and argue responsibly, your arguments must in fact respond to the issues already posed in dispute. Types of Issues. Next you must identify which type or types of issues you are dealing with. Look at the list below and determine which apply to your chosen topic. Issue of Substantiation. Issues of substantiation are questions of disputed facts, definitions, causes, and consequences. Issues of Evaluation. Issues of evaluation are questions about whether something is good or bad, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable, effective or ineffective, valuable or worthless. Issues of Policy. Issues of policy are questions about what we should do and how we should implement our aims. Taking a Position: From Issues to Claims. Clarify your own thinking and determine where you stand. Take a position. That position becomes your thesis statement. It is a clear statement of the writer’s position on the issue at hand. This statement is the writer’s central claim or thesis in the argument. The thesis statement should be located in the second or third paragraph of your introduction. Introduction: The argument/persuasion essay does not follow the five paragraph essay that formula that has been used for all of your other essays. This essay is to be a 1000 word essay. For that reason, the formula is much more extensive. You will have anywhere from nine (9) to thirteen (13) paragraphs. The introduction of this essay should be two or three paragraphs long, the latter being preferable. The first paragraph of this essay should identify the issue that you have chosen. Then point out the type of issue(s) that is involved (substantiation, evaluation, policy, or a combination thereof). Finally, discuss why this issue is still being debated. Most issues have been around for a while but do not seem to die (e.g. the abortion issue). The second paragraph in an argument/persuasion essay should deal with historical background. Give as much background that is needed to support your issue. This paragraph should contain your thesis statement. Lead up to your thesis statement. Second Division of the Essay—Your Side of the Argument. What are the strongest points that could prove your side of the argument? There may be several points. Choose the strongest three (3) or four (4) reasons that support your side of the argument. Each of those reasons should be a separate paragraph. Develop each of those paragraphs (reasons) with evidence that supports the claim: statistics, research, expert testimony, and examples. Give clear explanations of how this evidence actually supports the main claim. These explanations are the reasons in the argument—the statements that show how the writer’s evidence is linked to the claim, thereby giving a sense of the larger implications of the main claim. In order to develop a persuasive position, the following appeals – ways to influence your readers by appealing to their ideas and values, sympathies, and beliefs — can be employed: Ethos. Refers to the writer’s character as it is projected to readers through the written text. Personality and Attitude of the writer’s character. Pathos. Refers to the readers’ emotions and the responses a piece of writing arouses in them. Images, sensations or shock techniques. Logos. Refers to what is said or written Logic and reasoning. Test results, statistics, expert testimony, eyewitness testimony, surveys. Ethics. Use shared values to influence readers. Reflects deeply held convictions rather than personal motivations. Religion, Patriotism, standards, humanitarianism. Third Division of the Essay—the Rebuttal (the Opposition’s Side of the Argument): In an argument/persuasion essay, you need to know both sides of the argument. You cannot defeat the opposition if you do not know the reasons upon which it bases its arguments and can show why those reasons do not hold up to logic. Choose the strongest three or four reasons that the opposition uses; each of those is a separate paragraph. Develop each of those paragraphs (reasons) with logical arguments against what is being purported. Again, use evidence that could disprove its claims: statistics, research, expert testimony, and examples. Give clear explanations as to how this evidence actually destroys the opposition’s claim. Be sure to employ the above ways to appeal to enhance your logic. Conclusion: The conclusion to the argument/persuasion essay can be one or two paragraphs long—your choice. Refer to the document identified above in Section 6 (c). Recall your primary thesis but do not repeat it verbatim. Restate it in a strong, positive manner. As usual, go back to your introduction and show why your points show that this issue has been resolved and does not still need to be debated. The following is a summary of the parts to this type of essay: * Claim: Your position, the basic point you want readers to accept. * Evidence: The supporting material for the claim. Clearly related, enough, verifiable, up-to-date, and reliable sources. Enabling Assumption: The line of reasoning that explains how the evidence supports the claim. Backing: Reasons that show that the enabling assumption is valid. Why yours is preferable to a competing assumption. Differing views: Disagreements with all or part of your argument. Openly admit differences. Summarize opposing viewpoints fairly and accurately. Avoid judgmental statements. Stress shared values, experiences and problems. Ask readers to maintain an open mind. Overcome negative stereotypes. Qualifiers: Words that modify or limit the claim. Making it less sweeping, global, and categorical. Conclusion: Reinforcement to your side of the argument.
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