Principles of an argument

After exploring our own self and getting to know our audience, it’s time to roll up our our sleeves and start working on that message. But, before we engage in the actual writing, we need to learn some aspects of the message creation and framing that will help us craft the most effective opinion piece. First, lets start with an argument. What is an argument? In its most simplistic way, an argument is a claim supported by reason. Arguments are grounded in believes, assumptions, and values. A reason per se is defined as a claim supported by a claim. A reason is connected to the claim with connecting words such as because, since, for, so, thus, consequently, therefore, etc.

A genuine argumentation requires reasonable participants who operate within the conventions of reasonable behavior and potentially shared assumptions that can start as a basis for arguments. This definition of an argument emphasizes two important issues:

  1. the need for reason and support
  2. the need for a basis of common understanding

One of the most perplexing questions that opinion writers and persuaders battle with is how can I make the argument internally consistent and logical?

Logical Structure of an Argument

The first most basic structure of an argument requires (1) a thesis or main claim; (2) at least two reasons or arguments that support your thesis, (3) at least two grounds or evidence (data) that support each argument.  When the writer’s and the audiences’ assumptions (values) are shared, it is ok not to state them explicitly in a claim. The argument will be persuasive.


However, if the values of the writer and his/her audience are not shared, you want to state explicitly your own assumption supported by strong evidence and explanation in order to be persuasive. In this argument structure, you will need to state your (1) thesis or claim, (2) reasoning or argument that support the claim, (3) grounds or data that support your argument, (4)assumption, and (5)grounds or data that support the assumption.



Leave a comment

Filed under Class Notes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s