Dr. Linda H. Mason
Associate Professor, Penn State University
Framing a Constructed Argument
I'm presenting a presentation on framing a constructed argument. We'll be talking about two kinds of arguments, what's an argumentative stance, which would be persuasive, or an opinion essay or response and then a discursive response which doesn't have the emotion and the personality in it. Really trying to explain what an argument is, that it's just a claim, it's something that the writer wants to make sure that the reader is convinced of what the writer feels is true.
Three Critical Elements
I'll be talking about three critical elements which are the thesis statement and how to develop an effective thesis statement. I will be talking about evidence that's included and a lot of that will have to do with organization and how to present your argument and I'll also be talking about reasoning, including deductive reasoning, looking at fallacies and how to use logic. The whole goal is to teach students how to present their ideas or an idea or some kind of truth that doesn't have any fallacies or holes in the logic, so their argument cannot be refuted easily.
Use of Evidence and Reasoning
We'll be focusing primarily because of working with adult learners on the use of evidence and the use of reasoning. Generally K through 12 covers what they would call a topic sentence or a thesis and that development is not too poorly done, there's certainly a refresher, some adults do certainly need it, but what is not addressed in a K through 12 setting at all is that logic. If a student can just get a reason down, even if it just makes no sense at all, teachers are usually okay with that, because they're looking for, in K through 12, more quantity of writing than necessarily quality in the argument and this would be what's often taught in a first year college rhetoric class.