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Goals of Argumentation To present a viewpoint to the reader To explain, clarify, and illustrate that viewpoint To persuade the reader that the viewpoint is valid 1. To move the reader to action 2. To convince the reader that the opinion is correct
Evidence Opinion is almost worthless alone. Anyone can have an opinion; simply expressing an opinion won’t persuade or convince, especially in academic writing. Your reader may think that a mere statement of opinion is a sign of laziness, ignorance, or inability to adequately support your statements. Opinions, then, must be supported by facts, examples, statistics, personal experience, or authoritative sources. The amount of evidence necessary depends on audience -- will the audience be people who already agree with you or people who might not agree with your position? When in doubt, pretend the reader will be a grump who NEVER agrees with anything. Provide enough proof to force the grump to admit that your opinion has merit.
Counterarguments Intelligent readers will know that there is an opinion other than yours. If you, as the writer, do not show an awareness of the counterarguments, readers might think either you have not explored the subject thoroughly or that you are presenting one-sided propaganda, afraid to admit the counterarguments. So YOU must look at the other side too. Present the counterarguments and then refute them, either by disproving them or by conceding their truth but showing that they are not as strong or valid as your arguments. You can do so by: correcting your opponent’s facts, denying the relevance of contrary proof, or denying that what your opponent presents as proof, though relevant, is sufficient.
The Writing Center: Writing Argumentative Essays
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Alternative Structures for Argumentative Essays
Option One: Weakest to Strongest Argument Followed by Counterargument Introduction (thesis) Weakest argument that...