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    Not that we have talked about the rhetorical appeals you can use in your argumentative/persuasive writing, we will look at developing an argument. Essentially, we will now be looking at the foundations of developing an argument and the different ways you can do so. 

    When developing an argument over something, you will first need to develop a claim. What is a claim?




    What a Claim Is

    • A claim is the main argument of an essay. It is probably the single most important part of an academic paper. The complexity, effectiveness, and quality of the entire paper hinges on the claim. If your claim is boring or obvious, the rest of the paper probably will be too.
    • A claim defines your paper's goals, direction, scope, and and is supported by evidence, quotations, argumentation, expert opinion, statistics, and telling details.
    • A claim must be argumentative. When you make a claim, you are arguing for a certain interpretation or understanding of your subject.
    • A good claim is specific. It makes a focused argument (MTV's popularity is waning because it no longer plays music videos) rather than a general one (MTV sucks).


    Types of Claims

    According to Aristotle, there were 3 main types of claims:

    1. Claims of fact.

    These claims must be able to be proven absolutely true. These claims answer questions like: Did it happen? Does it exist? Is it true?

    2. Claims of value.

    Appeals to the inherent moral values of the audience. These claims answer questions like: Is it good or bad? What should be used to determine its value?

    3. Claims of policy.

    Suggests ways in which existing policy can and should be changed. These claims answer questions like: What should we do about it? What should our course of action be?


    Check out the video to the right to go more in depth of each of these. Take notes to use in the assignment to follow.



    Courtesy the Odegaard Writing & Research Center
    Adapted from UW Expository Writing Program handouts