ARGUMENT AND PERSUASION CHECKLIST

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ARGUMENT AND PERSUASION CHECKLIST Powered By Docstoc
					ARGUMENT AND PERSUASION CHECKLIST

Title of paper: ___________________________________________________________

Peer editor: _____________________________________________________________
  1. Is the point the writer is trying to make clear? Identify the thesis:



  2. The first argument used to support the thesis is______________________________




  3. The second argument used to support the thesis is ___________________________




  4. The third argument used to support the thesis is _____________________________




  3. The counterargument used to support the thesis is ___________________________




  4. In general, how convincing do you find the writer’s arguments and
     counterargument(s)? Consider whether all important aspects of the subject have
     been addressed, whether you ever found yourself disagreeing with what you read,
     and whether the writer acknowledged other points of view. ____________________
     ___________________________________________________________________




  5. How easy is it for you to follow the writer’s line of thought? On the paper, point out
     any places where transitions might make it easier to follow.
  6. What unanswered questions about the topic do you have after reading this paper?
     Identify any that you think the writer should have covered. ___________________
      ___________________________________________________________________


  7. To what extent did grammar or spelling errors distract you from the writer’s
     message? On the paper, point out things the writer should double-check or correct.
  8. Give general feedback, on the paper or in a note:
     • Identify at least one thing the writer did well.
     • Offer any suggestions you have for improving the paper.
Writer: _________________________________________________________________

Title of paper: ___________________________________________________________

After you receive your peer editors’ feedback, look it over. Then read your paper again,
keeping readers’ comments in mind. Use their feedback and your own judgment to
answer the questions below.

  1. Is your message clearly defined? If readers had trouble identifying your thesis, how
     could you make it clearer or more obvious?
  2. Does your paper meet reader needs? Did readers have questions you need to
     answer? Did you cover the important arguments well enough that readers find your
     writing credible?
  3. Do you support your views with adequate evidence? Where could you add more in-
     depth explanations or support from experts who agree with you?
  4. Do you anticipate reader objections and alternative points of view? If not, where
     could you add a counterargument?
  5. Do you balance the strengths and weaknesses of logical, ethical, and emotional
     appeals? (See http://infotrac.thomsonlearning.com/infowrite/ex_argu.htm)
  6. Do you avoid overstated, sentimental, or propagandist appeals? If so, how can you
     remove or replace those loaded words with more objective language?
  7. Do you avoid logical fallacies?
     • Absolute statements. Although it is important to convince readers by making a strong
       impression, avoid making absolute claims that can be dismissed with a single exception.
     • False dilemma. Avoid overdramatizing your case by offering readers only two alternatives, such
       as stating. We must approve school choice or see an an entire generation of children condemned to
       illiteracy. Most readers will immediately recognize the weakness of such an unrealistic argument.
     • Basing arguments on personalities. Don't presume that readers will be impressed by citing
       endorsements by famous people. The fact that a celebrity or single expert supports your argument
       is not convincing evidence. Don't attack the personality of opposing authorities or reject an idea
       because someone controversial supports it. National health care, for example, were tenets of both
       Nazism and Communism.
     • False Analogy. Comparisons form weak arguments. Although they may useful to illustrate an
       idea, they rarely provide convincing evidence. The fact that an educational policy works in Japan
       does not mean it will work in the United States. The fact that Prohibition failed to curb alcohol
       consumption does not mean that crack should be legalized.
     • Hasty generalizations. Make sure that any conclusions are based on sufficient evidence and not
       coincidence or simple circumstance. The fact that you spot a fellow student walking into a liquor
       store on Monday, leaving a bar on Tuesday, and buying a six pack on Wednesday does not prove
       that the person has a drinking problem or even drinks alcohol at all.
     • Begging the question. Avoid assuming elements that must be proven. You cannot argue "The
       outmoded computer systems must be replaced" until you prove that the system is indeed outdated.
  8. Do you avoid preaching to the converted? Will only those who already agree with
     you accept your arguments?
  9. Do you make it easy for undecided readers to accept your position without feeling
     manipulated or patronized?
 10. Have you considered the comments from your peer reviewers and made the changes
     you felt were appropriate and necessary?