6 Argument Writing Techniques

Over time, three distinct styles of academic writing have emerged: narrative, explanatory, and argument. Traditionally, writing instructors have given equal emphasis to the Big Three in that order, but contemporary standards place argument writing at the top of the pack. Why?

The transition may be attributed to a drive for rigour. Argument writing necessitates clear, rational thinking and the ability to satisfy readers’ demands. Clearly, such communication skills are in short supply in today’s information economy, and fostering these abilities will benefit students both in school and at work.

Many novice writers find it difficult to craft compelling arguments. You may assist them in achieving success by teaching the following skills.

1. Distinguishing Argumentation from Persuasion

The tests that measure writing skills focus on argumentation rather than persuasion. In reality, these methods overlap far more than they differ, but pupils should be aware of the subtle distinction between them.

Persuasive appeals to the emotions of readers in order to persuade them to believe or take a particular action. Persuasion is utilized by advertising.

Argumentation is the use of logic and evidence to construct a case for a certain claim. Argumentation is used in science and law.

You may assist your pupils to distinguish between the two by having them read Distinguishing Argumentation from Persuasion.

2. Forming an Opinion Statement

Students’ arguments will not have a significant impact unless there is a clear main claim or perception statement. It’s like travelling through the fog; you’re never sure where you’re going since there isn’t a clear main claim or opinion statement to follow.

Developing an Opinion Statement to assist pupils in writing the major claim of their argument. Students use a basic procedure to make a statement of truth, value, or policy in this lesson.

3. Appealing to the Audience

How can students support their claims in a manner that appeals to sceptic readers if they haven’t yet made one? Aristotle identified three sorts of rhetorical appeals. The first two are most effective in debate, while the third is more useful in persuasion.

The appeal to logos is a form of informal argumentation in which logos are used as justification for claims (using logic).

The appeal to reputation is a technique of establishing trust by citing trustworthy sources, producing real facts, and fairly presenting the problem (using ethics).

Appeal to pathos is an appeal that uses emotions in order to persuade (pulling “heartstrings”).

Authors use a variety of techniques to persuade readers, including making logical and ethical (argumentation) or emotional appeals (persuasion).

4. Connecting with Anecdotes

Although logical arguments should minimize emotional appeals, they should still connect to readers on a personal level. Any argument that fails to appeal to the emotions, values, aspirations, fears, self-interests, or identities of any audience will fail. According to Thomas Newkirk in Minds Made for Stories, “Any argument that does not resonate with the sentiments, ideals, hopes, dreads, self-interests or identities of its audience will

Students may use apt stories to spice up their writing and give it more emotion. Give students practice Using Anecdotes in Formal Writing, as well as some pointers on how to include pertinent anecdotes to connect with readers.

5. Answering Objections

When students ignore critical counterarguments, their arguments lose steam. Assist them in understanding that addressing reader concerns does not lessen their claims, but rather enhances them.

These are the two most common methods for responding to opposing viewpoints:

  • Counterargument – shows where the objection is lacking or weak (without degrading the person who is objecting).
  • Concessions – accept the validity of an opposing view, but they swiftly revert to the writer’s perspective.

Then present Answering Objections in Arguments.

6. Avoiding Logical Fallacies

Effective persuasion requires clear and logical thinking. However, students may inadvertently (or purposefully) make false or illogical assertions to support their viewpoints when they are too passionate about defending a viewpoint. 

Closing Thoughts

These six tactics may help your pupils construct more convincing argument papers. Also, many of the abilities you’ll cover throughout your narrative and explanatory units will be readily transferable to argument writing. An argument occasionally necessitates a sprinkling of description, careful analysis, or even a poetic metaphor. Writing is writing; it’s not simply about grammar and diction.

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