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Organizing Your Argument: The Importance of Structure and Clarity

Learn how to effectively organize your argument by establishing your claim, providing logical reasoning, examples, and research. Discover the importance of a clear title, introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

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Organizing Your Argument: The Importance of Structure and Clarity

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  1. Organizing Your Argument Purdue OWL staff Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab

  2. What is an Argument? An argument involves the process of… • establishing a claim and then • provingit with the use of • logical reasoning, • examples, and • research.

  3. The Importance of Organization • Why is organization important in argument? • Guides an audience through your reasoning process. • Offers a clear explanation of each argued point. • Demonstrates the credibility of the writer.

  4. Organizing Your Argument • Title • Introduction • Thesis statement • Body Paragraphs • Constructing Topic Sentences • Building Main Points • Countering the Opposition • Conclusion

  5. Why You Need A Title Title: (1) introduces the topic of discussion to the audience and (2) generates reader interest in the argument. Tip: Use active verbs in titles For example: Clean Campus  Cleaning up Campus With Recycling Bins or Reducing Rubbish: Recycling on Campus

  6. Considering Titles Imagine you just wrote a paper offering solutions to the problem of road rage. Which do you consider to be the best title? • Road Rage • Can’t Drive 55 • Road Rage: Curing Our Highway Epidemic

  7. What is an Introduction? Introduction: acquaints the reader with the topic and purpose of the paper. An introduction offers a plan for the ensuing argument: • Introduction: Tell them what you’re going to tell them. • Body: Tell them. • Conclusion: Tell them what you told them

  8. Methods for Constructing an Introduction • Personal anecdote • Example—real or hypothetical • Question • Quotation • Shocking statistics • Striking image

  9. What is a Thesis Statement? • It is the most important sentence in your paper. • It lets the reader know the main idea of the paper. • It answers the question: “What am I trying to prove?” • It is not a factual statement, but a claim that has to be proven throughout the paper

  10. Role of the Thesis Statement • The thesis statement should guide your reader through your argument. • It is generally located in the introduction of the paper. • A thesis statement may also be located within the body of the paper or in the conclusion, depending upon the purpose or argument of the paper.

  11. Thesis Practice Choose a thesis for an argument about the need for V-chips in television sets? • Parents, often too busy to watch television shows with their families, can monitor their children’s viewing habits with the aid of the V-chip. • To help parents monitor their children’s viewing habits, the V-chip should be a required feature for television sets sold in the U.S. • This paper will describe a V-chip and examine the uses of the V-chip in American-made television sets.

  12. Body Paragraphs and Topic Sentences • Body paragraphs: (1) build upon the claims made in the introductory paragraph(s); (2) are organized with the use of topic sentences that illustrate the main idea of each paragraph. • Tip: Offering a brief explanation of the history or recent developments of topic within the early body paragraphs can help the audience become familiarized with your topic and the complexity of the issue.

  13. Body Paragraphs Paragraphs may be ordered in several ways, depending upon the topic and purpose of your argument:

  14. Offering a Counterargument Addressing the claims of the opposition is an important component in building a convincing argument. • It demonstrates your credibility as a writer—you have researched multiple sides of the argument and have come to an informed decision. • It shows you have considered other points of view - that other points of view are valid and reasonable.

  15. Locating a Counterargument Counterarguments may be located at various locations within your body paragraphs. You may choose to: • Build each of your main points as a contrast to oppositional claims. • Offer a counterargument after you have articulated your main claims.

  16. Effective Counterarguments Consider your audience when you offer your counterargument: • Conceding to some of your opposition’s concerns can demonstrate respect for their opinions. • Using rude or deprecating language can cause your audience to reject your position. Remain tactful yet firm. • How to write a rebuttal.

  17. Research in Body Paragraphs Researched material can aid you in proving the claims of your argument and disproving oppositional claims. Be sure to use your research to support the claims made in your topic sentences—make your research work to prove your argument.

  18. The Conclusion • Conclusion: Reemphasizes the main points made in your paper. • You may choose to reiterate a call to action or speculate on the future of your topic, when appropriate. • Avoid raising new claims in your conclusion.

  19. Where to Go for More Help Purdue University Writing Lab, Heavilon 226 Check our web site: http://owl.english.purdue.edu Email brief questions to OWL Mail: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/contact/owlmailtutors

  20. The End ORGANIZING YOUR ARGUMENT Purdue OWL staff Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab

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