Reading and Analyzing Arguments
There are many ways to identify and explain the various parts of arguments, but to me it makes the most sense to break them down like this:
- In argumentative writing, the thesis explains the author’s point of view or purpose for writing.
- In academic writing, the thesis statement should also identify the support the essay is going to present to prove its point
- Statistics and basic facts
- The opinions of experts
- (Statistics, facts, and expert opinions are the best types of support, by far.)
- Personal anecdotes
- Information generated from interviews or surveys
- (Personal anecdotes and survey/interview information is useful, but generally not in academic writing. Don't use this material in my class).
- An argument is not an argument unless there are two sides.
- Arguments must present their opponents' point of view for two reasons:
- Doing this makes the writer look informed (he or she is aware that there are multiple perspectives on the issue).
- Doing this allows the writer to anticipate the arguments that opponents would counter with and disarm those anticipated arguments. This is called recognizing or anticipating counterarguments.