Friday, October 9, 2009

Guidelines in writing an effective argument

effective argument guidelines writing
What do we mean by an argument? By formal definition an argument is a set of one more meaningful declarative sentences. Usually these declarative sentences is compose of a proposition and a conclusion. An argument usually takes place between two people engaged in a dialogue, A good example would be a situation in a court of law where two sides exchange claims and evidences to prove which one is telling the truth. Arguments however do not just take an oral form but also a written form.

What are written arguments?
Written arguments are like oral arguments because they can be one sided. Written arguments however are not like slogans or bumper stickers requiring no evidence or reason and only showing one side of the whole story. For a written argument to be effective, you should not assume that everyone thinks the same and holds the same values and beliefs. Written arguments do attempt to convince people to believe their ideas by presenting valid reasons and evidence, much like an oral argument. An effective written argument however takes opposing views into consideration and anticipate any objections by providing a sufficient explanation.

However effective written arguments also appeal to the emotions of its intended audience. Written arguments should also educate or expand our knowledge on the given topic. Most often, written arguments also need to prove that the information they present are reliable, so choosing the right sources is also critical in the success of an argument. Knowledge about your claim is important because your written argument will be scrutinize by others who oppose your ideas. Therefore a strong and credible source of information must be presented.

An effective written argument also does not assume that victory is certain. Whatever form of victory you gain will mostly be temporary, because there will always be people that will disagree with you and sometimes new evidences come out that could contradict your claims and ideas.

The following list is a few more suggestions when writing an argument.

  • Think of yourself as engaged not so much in contradicting another person or groups idea. Your goal is to invite a response in order to create a dialogue.
  • Show that you understand and respect your readers point of view, even though you know that he/she is wrong.
  • Remember that you are arguing against an idea and not a person so refrain from attacking the person or group himself.
  • Look for common ground between the two opposing idea and use that to mediate the difference between them and then ultimately exposing the other idea to be wrong
  • A sense of humor is sometimes recommended but try to moderate it so that your written argument will still be taken seriously.
  • When writing your argument, think that you have something to offer to rather than you have something to prove.
That concludes my posts, "Guidelines in writing an effective argument"

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