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Argument Analysis*



The following worksheet can be used to examine the level of development in an argumentative paper. Read the definitions below and then attempt to fill in the sections by drawing upon your own essay.



The Claim

What statement are you defending? This is the core of your paper, the assertion you are trying to prove. It is modified by any special qualifications or exceptions you wish to attach to make the argument stronger and more complete.

Qualifiers

Is your claim absolute? Beware of absolutes; most claims are modified by "usually," "often," "frequently," "in many cases," and so forth.



Exceptions

In which cases would you not defend your claim? Be sure to state these cases clearly. Show your reader that you have thought through your claim from all sides.



Reasons

What are the statements that support your claim? Ask two key questions here:
Note that reasons, like claims, may be qualified.



You may print this screen and use the following lines as a worksheet to evaluate your own writing. Three spaces for reasons have been provided, but remember that there is no set rule about how few or how many reasons you need to support a given claim.


*This help sheet has been adapted from the discussion of the Toulmin method in: Crusius, Timothy W., and Carolyn E. Channell. The Aims of Argument: A Rhetoric and Reader. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield, 1995. 31-36.




Worksheet



Claim:






Qualifiers:





Exceptions:





Reason #1:

What makes this reason relevant?

What makes it good?

What evidence supports this reason?




Reason #2:

What makes this reason relevant?

What makes it good?

What evidence supports this reason?




Reason #3:

What makes this reason relevant?

What makes it good?

What evidence supports this reason?




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