Research Writing and Argument: Every time we write, we engage in argument. Through writing, we try to persuade and influence our readers, either directly or indirectly. We work to get them to change their minds, to do something, or to begin thinking in new ways.
Therefore, every writer needs to know and be able to use principles of rhetoric. The first step towards such knowledge is learning to see the argumentative nature of all writing. I have two goals in this chapter: As consumers of written texts, we are often tempted to divide writing into two categories: According to this view, in order to be argumentative, writing must have the following qualities.
It has to defend a position in a debate between two or more opposing sides; it must be on a controversial topic; and the goal of such writing must be to prove the correctness of one point of view over another. On the other hand, this view goes, non-argumentative texts include narratives, descriptions, technical reports, news stories, and so on.
Most of us do that through the traditional research report, the kind which focuses too much on information-gathering and note cards and not enough on constructing engaging and interesting points of view for real audiences.
It is the gathering and compiling of information, and not doing something productive and interesting with this information, that become the primary goals of this writing exercise.
Generic research papers are also often evaluated on the quantity and accuracy of external information that they gather, rather on the persuasive impact they make and the interest they generate among readers. Having written countless research reports, we begin to suspect that all research-based writing is non-argumentative.
Even when explicitly asked to construct a thesis statement and support it through researched evidence, beginning writers are likely to pay more attention to such mechanics of research as finding the assigned number and kind of sources and documenting them correctly, than to constructing an argument capable of making an impact on the reader.
It implies a winner and a loser, a right side and a wrong one. Such an understanding of argument is narrow because arguments come in all shapes and sizes. What if we see it as the opportunity to tell our stories, including our life stories?
It implies effective use of details, and stories, including emotional ones. Arguments then, can be explicit and implicit, or implied.
Explicit arguments contain noticeable and definable thesis statements and lots of specific proofs. Implicit arguments, on the other hand, work by weaving together facts and narratives, logic and emotion, personal experiences and statistics.
Unlike explicit arguments, implicit ones do not have a one-sentence thesis statement. Instead, authors of implicit arguments use evidence of many different kinds in effective and creative ways to build and convey their point of view to their audience. Research is essential for creative effective arguments of both kinds.
To consider the many types and facets of written argumentation, consider the following exploration activity. Are these situations opportunities for argumentative writing? If so, what elements of argument do you see? Use your experience as a reader and imagine the kinds of published texts that might result from these writing situations.
After obtaining the results from those experiments, they decide to publish their findings in a scientific journal. However, the data can be interpreted in two ways.
The authors can use a long-standing theory with which most of his colleagues agree. But they can also use a newer and more ambitious theory on which there is no consensus in the field, but which our authors believe to be more comprehensive and up-to-date.
Using different theories will produce different interpretations of the data and different pieces of writing. Are both resulting texts arguments? Why or why not? She is particularly interested in her relationship with her parents as a teenager. In order to focus on that period of her life, she decides to omit other events and time periods from the memoir.
The finished text is a combination of stories, reflections, and facts.WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CHAPTER 14, AR Separation for Misconduct 1. WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR A CHAPTER 14? (paragraph b); or (3) The soldier commits a single act of "serious misconduct" (paragraph c) counseled in writing at least once prior to initiation of the chapter action.
The counseling must. Using Graphics as Visual Arguments. Writing Assignment for Chapter 9. III. ARGUMENTS IN DEPTH: SIX TYPES OF CLAIMS. An Introduction to Types of Claims. An Overview of the Types of Claims.
Evaluation Arguments: X Is (Is Not) a Good Y.
An Overview of Evaluation Arguments. This chapter is about rhetoric—the art of persuasion. Every time we write, we engage in argument. Through writing, we try to persuade and influence our readers, either directly or indirectly.
Writing Arguments moves students beyond a simplistic debate model of argument to a view of argument as inquiry and consensus-building as well as persuasion, in which the writer negotiates with others in search of the best solutions to problems. With its student-friendly tone, clear explanations, high-interest readings and examples, and well-sequenced critical thinking and writing assignments, Writing Arguments offers a time-tested approach to argument that is interesting and accessible to students and eminently teachable for instructors.
Microsoft product screen shots reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation.