The Argumentative Essay

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AP Style

Academic paper = analyze

facts or ideas to: make sense of them, tell me their

meanings, their significance.

Articulate relationships

Create rational contexts

Argue particular relationships

Questions should be:

Significant

Objective

Analytical

Why has Europe moved closer to unification since World War Two?

How do Western assumptions about the relationship between body and mind influence the practice of medicine?

Why can so many post-colonial nations be considered “failed states” many decades after independence?

What was the relationship between theology and social context in the early Methodist movement?

Topic:

Modern

Technology

Education

Create your own academic question

Does modern technology make life more convenient, or was life better when technology was simpler?

Is education is the single most important factor in the development of a country?

The Thesis

Describes the relationship

Major terms

Example Structures:

Because A is of B nature, then C.

If A causes B, then B is of C nature.

B does not cause C, but A influences both B and

C, etc.

A) Increased ethnic tensions

PLUS B) Lack of local infrastructure

DESPITE C) Influx of foreign aid

CAUSES D) The instability of the postcolonial nation-state

DIFFERED

A) Bohrs’ approach to physics

B) From that of

Einstein; This difference is not only

REFLECTED C) In the language each uses; it is

CONSTRUCTED D) By that language.

A logical argument exists whenever two elements are present:

Claim/Assertion

EXAMPLE: Most Americans need to

exercise more.

Support/Evidence

EXAMPLE: According to the latest

government figures, most

Americans are overweight.

Claims of

FACT

Examples:

The Constitution restricts our right to bear arms.

Immigrants are taking away jobs from Americans who need work.

Claims of

DEFINITION

Examples:

Alcoholism is a disease, not a vice.

The death penalty constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment."

Claims of

CAUSE

Examples:

The popularity of the Internet has led to a rise in plagiarism amongst students.

Tougher gun laws would decrease the number of homicides.

Claims of

VALUE

Examples:

Doctor-assisted suicide is immoral.

Violent computer games are detrimental to children’s social development.

Claims of

POLICY

Examples:

Welfare programs should not be dismantled.

The state ought to issue vouchers for parents to use to fund their children’s education.

hard EVIDENCE; or

expert OPINION.

the logical relationship between claim and support

the assumption

CLAIM: Most Americans need to

exercise more.

SUPPORT According to the latest

government figures, most Americans are overweight.

WARRANT: Exercise can enable weight

loss.

Warrant

Claim Support

Warrant = bridge between claim and support

Connecting abstract and general

(deductive reasoning= general to specific)

 the warrant = the major premise of

the syllogism (a categorical rule)

 the support = the minor premise (a

specific instance or case)

 the claim = the logical conclusion

derived from these two premises

QUALIFICATIONS that acknowledge the limits of your

argument.

CLAIM:

Most Americans need to exercise more.

SUPPORT According to the

latest government

figures,

most Americans are overweight.

WARRANT: Exercise

can enable weight loss.

Further Qualification:

However, strenuous exercise is not

appropriate for those with certain health conditions.

Why would you want to qualify your argument?

Concession

Rebuttal

Introduction

Hook

Establishes qualifications

Establishes common ground

Fair tone

States claim

Background

Necessary information

Lines of argument

Good reasons (Supports/Warrants)

Alternative Arguments

Advantages and disadvantages of views (Qualifications)

Explains why your view is better

Conclusion

Summarizes

Elaborates the implications of your claim

Reinforces credibility

Emotional appeal

Clear message

The German poet Goethe once wrote, “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”

Goethe’s statement might be implied to schools, government, social services, business, even to families— any place, really, where people interact with each other. Is Goethe just expressing an unattainable principle of human behavior, or does his ideal have real-life applicability? In a wellorganized essay, comment on the validity of

Goethe’s statement as a realistic guide to personal relationships. To support your point of view, you may draw evidence from your reading, studies, observation, and personal experiences.

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