Rhetoric & Composition I: Autumn Quarter 2013 Rotating Header Image

Review: some purposes for argument & advocacy

9a Arguing for a purpose — page 186

To win
The most traditional purpose of academic argument, arguing to win, is used in campus debating societies, in political debates, in trials, and often in business. The writer or speaker aims to present a position that prevails over or defeats the positions of others.

To convince and persuade
More often than not, out-and-out defeat of another is not only unrealistic but also undesirable. Rather, the goal is to convince other persons that they should change their minds about an issue.

To reach a decision or explore an issue
Often, a writer must enter into conversation with others and collaborate in seeking the best possible understanding of a problem, exploring all possible approaches and choosing the best alternative.

To change yourself
Sometimes you will find yourself arguing primarily with yourself, and those arguments often take the form of intense meditations on a theme, or even of prayer. In such cases, you may be hoping to transform something in yourself or to reach peace of mind on a troubling subject.

  • What is the purpose of your argument—to convince others? to make a good decision? to change yourself? (9a)
  • Is the point you want to make arguable? (9b)
  • Have you formulated a clear claim and given good reasons for it? (9c and d)
  • Have you formulated a strong working thesis, and have you qualified it sufficiently? (9c)
  • How have you established your own credibility in the argument? (9e)
  • Have you considered, and addressed, counterarguments? (9e3)
  • How have you incorporated logical appeals into your argument? (9f)
  • How have you used emotional appeals in your argument? (9g)
  • [WRD104] How have you used sources in your argument, and how effectively are they integrated into your argument? (9h)
  • Is your argument clearly organized? (9i)
  • What design elements have you considered in composing your argument? How effective is your design? (9j)