Parts of An Argument

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Transcript of Parts of An Argument

Arguing 101

Arguing 101How to Identify Main Claims, Reasons, and Evidence in an Argumentative Text

Parts of an Argument1. Claim the statement of the authors opinion on a debatable topic

2. Reason an argumentative statement that supports the main claim by showing the thinking behind it

3. Evidence the specific facts that supports the authors reason

There are three main parts to an argument. You might have kind of a gut instinct as to what these parts are or to what these words mean, but were going to use this technical vocabulary so that we can do a better job describing and analyzing the arguments we read and the arguments we create.2

Parts of an ArgumentClaim the statement of the authors opinion on a debatable topic

The first part is the CLAIM. Its the short, summary statement of WHAT the author is arguing. 3

Parts of an Argument

2. Reason an argumentative statement that supports the main claim by showing the thinking behind it

The second part of an argument is the REASON. You can think of it as the reasons WHY the author has made the claim he or she has so that you can understand the thinking behind it. Each REASON is a sort of mini-claim. There can be a number of them in an argument.4

Parts of an Argument

3. Evidence the specific facts that supports the authors reason

The third part of an argument is the EVIDENCE. Evidence are the factual details that support the REASONS, and by doing so they support the overall CLAIM.5

Should Schools Give Summer Homework?Schools should rethink summer homework, and not just because it stresses students (and parents). The truth is, homework doesnt accomplish what we assume it does. Research shows theres only a moderate correlation between homework and standardized test scores or long-term achievement in middle school. Nancy Kalish, Should Schools Give Summer Homework: No. New York Times Upfront 11 May 2015: 23. Print.

This passage, written by Nancy Kalish in response to the question Should Schools Give Summer Homework?, contains ONE CLAIM, ONE REASON, and ONE PIECE OF EVIDENCE. Read through and see if you can find them.

So heres what Ive determined, and Ill talk you through my thinking.6

Should Schools Give Summer Homework?Schools should rethink summer homework, and not just because it stresses students (and parents). The truth is, homework doesnt accomplish what we assume it does. Research shows theres only a moderate correlation between homework and standardized test scores or long-term achievement in middle school. Nancy Kalish, Should Schools Give Summer Homework: No. New York Times Upfront 11 May 2015: 23. Print.

The CLAIM is the WHAT what Nancy Kalish says in response to the question so her response is that schools should rethink, which implies that they should do something different from what theyre already doing. This is a creative way of stating CLAIM, which in even more simple language is basically schools should not assign summer homework.7

Should Schools Give Summer Homework?Schools should rethink summer homework, and not just because it stresses students (and parents). The truth is, homework doesnt accomplish what we assume it does. Research shows theres only a moderate correlation between homework and standardized test scores or long-term achievement in middle school. Nancy Kalish, Should Schools Give Summer Homework: No. New York Times Upfront 11 May 2015: 23. Print.

The REASON is the WHY why Nancy Kalish has made the argument that she schools should get rid of summer homework. The WHY here is that homework doesnt achieve what we assume it does even though this is implicit as well, we probably assume it helps kids learn, but her REASON for abolishing summer homework is that it actually doesnt help kids learn, if we state her REASON a little more simply.

Of course, Kalishs WHY her REASON -- leaves us wondering really? Can that possibly be correct?

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Should Schools Give Summer Homework?Schools should rethink summer homework, and not just because it stresses students (and parents). The truth is, homework doesnt accomplish what we assume it does. Research shows theres only a moderate correlation between homework and standardized test scores or long-term achievement in middle school. Nancy Kalish, Should Schools Give Summer Homework: No. New York Times Upfront 11 May 2015: 23. Print.

Thats why she needs to provide some EVIDENCE some specific facts that support her REASON. Here, she provides some examples from researchers. She could make this evidence even stronger, and therefore support her reason even more, if she gave some details about that research who did the study and perhaps some numbers that show what she means by moderate correlation but Im guessing she didnt since she wanted to keep this article short and sweet.9

Parts of an ArgumentClaimWHAT the author is arguingReasonWHY the author argues that claimEvidenceFACTS that support a reason

In short, you can think of the CLAIM as the WHAT, the REASON as the WHY, and the EVIDENCE as the FACTS.

A few more quick things to know before I turn you loose to do some team work:--They often come in this order first claim, then reason, then facts, then perhaps another reason and another set of facts, then perhaps another reason and another set of facts. HOWEVER, they dont ALWAYS come in this order.--Sometimes, one or more of these parts seems like its missing. If its really and truly an argument (and most of what we read is an argument) then that part is usually not missing altogether but it is IMPLICIT (meaning its not directly stated) rather than EXPLICIT (meaning the author just comes out and says it). Well dig into this a little more deeply later, but thats something I want you to keep in mind.

But the most important thing to keep in mind is this basic structure. 10