In CPN 100, students explore, develop, and compose a focused, well-supported analytical argument using a small number of carefully selected sources.
Through the argument assignment, students will:
- Use composing processes and tools as a means to discover and reconsider ideas;
- Demonstrate the ability to research a topic, develop an argument, and organize supporting details; and
- Be able to produce coherent texts within common college-level written forms.
Things to Keep in Mind about ArgumentTo craft a successful argument, writers must consider their audiences’ relationship to the issue, the subject of the argument. Some audiences may oppose a writer’s stance, and others may be indifferent to the issue entirely. A successful argument will show its readers why they should care about an issue as well as why that argument is valid.
Evidence will help a writer build a strong argument. Writers need to learn about issues to find recent, reliable, relevant, and accurate sources of information to support their ideas and prove to their audiences that they are knowledgeable about the issue. An argument can use different types of evidence – statistics, empirical research studies, interviews – to prove a single claim. Additionally, a good argument will feature clear logic and explicitly interpret evidence so the audience can understand the writer’s reasoning.
Finally, good arguments will often acknowledge counterarguments. An appreciation of opposing perspectives in an argument can convince audiences that a writer has considered the issue thoroughly and can therefore earn an audience’s respect, a crucial element to a successful argument. A mature writer will concede opposing perspectives’ valid points, which in turn shows readers that the author is fair and open-minded.
In this student example we can see a clear stance is taken by Gonzales as she argues that vacant homes should be used to house the homeless based on a “Housing First” program model. Her argument draws on examples, narrative, and statistics to persuade the reader as to why this model of government and not-for-profit intervention would help homeless individuals and families recover financial and social stability.
Elle O’Leary Kelleher
In this example of an argument, Kelleher explores how the issue of immigration has been taken up in politics and policy, but rests on many misperceptions, including the negative portrayal of immigrants in popular culture ranging from 1931 to 2013. Kelleher argues for a loosening of immigration restrictions based on benefits to the United States and based on a historical sense of “American values.”
In this example of an argument, Kravchenko makes the case for the need for continued funding for arts education. He points out the benefits of a funded arts education as increasing creativity, child development, and future career opportunities.