Chapter 8 Notes Johnson

How Do We Develop and Organize Arguments

  • Introduction: introduce our topic and catalyst, provide back ground information, establish our credibility
  • Scholars are tempted to use the five paragraph theme, which is a helpful foundation for writing
  • We analyze our rhetorical situation and ask ourselves:
    • Whats my purpose?
    • What am i really trying to accomplish?
    • What kind of audience will read this?
    • How are the arguments that I've read in this discipline typically organized?
    • Am i conduction original research, such as collecting data or conducting experiments

Techniques for Organizing Your Thoughts

  • Visualize your organization: one way to do this is imagine your paper as a building that has various rooms, each with a different function.
  • We would need to post clear signage (linkages) throughout the building
  • Thinking metaphorically and visually about our argument helps us to imagine how its various parts fit together and to consider the paper from our audiences perspective
  • When brainstorming,use idea maps, cluster diagrams, or technology to help us arrange our ideas
  • you can also use presentation software to give a visual representation of an argument
  • reverse outline, it is composed after a draft is written

Developing Your Arguments

  • You can organize an argument around these categories by first addressing controversies about existence, then discussing definitions and consequences, then evaluating, and finally offering solutions
  • you can use the controversy categories as building blocks for larger arguments
  • Existence arguments rely on observable evidence for support.
  • many arguments begin with disagreements about how we define a term or concept
  • sometimes existence can be present through illustration
  • we often rely on verification to support existence arguments

Arguments about Definition

  • public controversies often hinge on the definition of a word or phrase
  • present small definitional arguments as building blocks for larger arguments
  • we argue wether a case fits an existing definition
  • knowing that vaguely defined terms can cause arguments to stall
  • to craft a definitional argument, we must first settle on a definition that our audience will accept
  • another strategy is to verify a definition with a credible source

Arguments about Evaluation

  • evaluation arguments sometimes stand alone and sometimes become part of larger arguments
  • begin evaluation arguments by establishing criteria by which you will judge the case at hand
  • evaluation arguments depend so mush on values and beliefs, they tend to be complex and compelling
  • to fully evaluate an issue, you might have to compare and contrast components of the controversy

Arguments about Policy

  • use this kind of structure when you write a proposal argument,which:
    1. describes a problem
    2. presents solutions
    3. justifies a course of action
  • you need to spend more time proving that theres actually cause for concern
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