Having an Argument, Making an Argument

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Help students to understand what an academic argument does by getting them to think about other kinds of arguments. Have students review the material on argument in the handbook and then ask them to describe the difference between an argument between lovers, an argument between political candidates, an argument in a courtroom, and a scientific argument. As a follow-up, ask them to describe the difference between “They’re having an argument” and “You have a convincing argument.” This exercise and discussion can be used to think about emotion, evidence, opinion, fact and the ways each can or should play a role in academic writing
About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.