Writing Strong Argument Papers                                           

 An argument or a persuasive paper has the power to make people change their minds about a topic, or allows them to really understand and accept your position as a valid one. You know how strongly people feel about their beliefs, so you can guess that writing a paper that will command the readers’ respect is challenging. So, in order to make strong arguments and to have the power to persuade people, follow some simple suggestions:

 Get oriented:

 1.         Pick a topic you feel strongly about. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with it, or disagree with it. Think of points on both sides of the issue - the pros and the cons of each topic.

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List some arguments from both sides and then think about how your audience feels about each of these.

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Pick whichever side has the most convincing information - you might have to change your mind and change your main idea as you discover facts that you were not aware of as you started thinking about the topic.

 2.       Pay close attention to your audience. Think of what it believes in, and be prepared to discuss some of the points that would be most interesting to this group.

 3.    Once you considered both sides, and considered the audience, then you are ready to to take one side. Believe that you are right, and prepare yourself well to defend your thoughts. You will need good research to do this!

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 Make sure that there is reliable information available to support your position.

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You will need facts, statistics, and reports from sources you and your audience can trust.

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Make sure that you study the other side as well as you study your side. You don't want any surprise facts that you can't defend to show up after you finish your paper!

 4.         Be very well informed about the issue you want to discuss. Issues have different dimensions – there is always a social, a technical or scientific, an economic, or another type of intellectual aspect you will need to be aware of.

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Be clear about which part, or point of the issue you are focusing on.

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Anticipate objections and be prepared to address them.

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Think of the points about this issue where there is common ground - where you can agree with the other side

 Now You Can Start Writing

 1.         Assume that you will have many different opinions among your audience. Your readers will judge the strength of your arguments. Write your paper to convince them that your side makes the most sense.

 2.         Right in your introduction, establish credibility. Your readers need to know that you have studied the topic, that you are being open and fair-minded about it, and that you can understand their points of view. Here is a good place to address some of the points you have in common with the other side.

 3.         Include your thesis at the end of the introduction.

 4.         Support your thesis with the 3 strongest arguments you can find. These will be the outline of your paper.

 5.         Back your arguments up with very strong, specific evidence: 

bulletUse facts and statistics
bulletUse examples
bulletBorrow power from experts – give their credentials, then cite their work
bulletLook for areas you and your opponents have in common. Your opponents need to feel that their ideas are important, that they are intelligent people.
bulletThink of the other side, explain their belief, and then find arguments that oppose this view.

Organize your paper

 1.         Choose an academic model you feel comfortable with:

Model 1:         

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 Introduction

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 The other side, plus a transition back to your side

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 Your second strongest argument

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 Your weakest argument, in the middle  

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 Your strongest argument at the end

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 Conclusion

Model 2:         

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Introduction

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Strongest argument

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Weakest argument

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Second strongest argument at the end, and a transition to the other side

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The other side

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Conclusion

 Model 3:         

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Introduction

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The other side, then your side, then transition back to

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The other side, then your weakest point, and a transition back to

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The other side, then your strongest point at the end

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Conclusion

 Check your arguments for strength and logic:          Are your arguments reasonable?

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/04/ ( a good source of information about this topic)

  1.  Are you generalizing without sufficient data?

  2.  Are you stereotyping? Are your analogies, (similarities between 2 things), based on things that are truly similar?

  3. Are you sure that your causes and effects are really causes and effects, and are not related to something else instead?

  4. Do you have enough options? Not much is really either one thing or another. There are usually other choices.

  5. Do your conclusions follow your arguments logically?

  6. Are you overusing emotions?

 Make corrections, and you are done!

For more information, check Diana Hacker’s Bedford Handbook and your text for Composition class.