Argument Construction

Knowing your topic and knowing what you want to convey to your audience is incredibly important in the process of constructing an argument. You need to understand key elements in the process of constructing your argument. Some of these points will be covered here.

First and foremost what is your topic? Who is your target audience? What do you want them to get out of your writing?

On the first idea- define your topic.

    • Do you know what the specific topic is? A general topic is a good start but within a general topic are a large list of specific topics. Define what specific idea you are writing about.
    • Is the topic suitable for the assignment you are faced with? If your topic is broad you need to pick specific points to hit on and then support your ideas with facts. It should match with who ever gave you the writing assignment. If you’re not sure then check back with the person who gave you the topic to write on for additional guidelines.
    • What is my opinion on the topic? Do I even have an opinion? If you don’t then start reading about the topic and form an opinion so that you can intelligently write on it.
    • How might others disagree with my opinion? Discuss or read about other points of view on the topic.
    • Can I change their opinion to match mine? This is possible if you’re passionate about the topic and know your facts.
    • Can I support my opinion with evidence? Always keep a list of sources of information even informal conversations with co-workers and friends. Everyone has an opinion of some form and it may or may not agree with your own. Be open to listening to what others have to say, your opinion might change.

Identify your audience.

Is your audience a broad one. For this writing assignment it is for the professor but also there is a good chance that others will read it so it is also for classmates. Since it’s a blog online then it’s also for the search engines and those who might read it through searches for keywords. I would not normally format my own notes like this but my audience is a large one and thus my notes on this chapter are different based on the audience.

Structure the Argument

Begin by thinking about the main idea of the argument or topic. What is the purpose of your writing about the topic? If it’s just for an instructor and just an assignment see if you can find another topic that you have an interest in. The more you are interested in learning about your topic the more fun it can be to write about your topic.

An outline is an incredibly useful tool in figuring out how to write a paper or essay. Currently I have an essay in Alaska History to do. My outline for the essay might be as follows:

1. Major Idea– Russians in Alaska and their impact on the Natives of Alaska

a. Supporting Idea

i. Supporting Detail

1. Minor Idea

a. Supporting Detail

2. Minor Idea

b. Supporting Detail

2. Major Idea

a. Supporting Idea

i. Supporting Detail

1. Minor Idea

a. Supporting Detail

2. Minor Idea

b. Supporting Detail

3. Conclusion

Now while this paper is still in it’s early phases I have a general idea in mind for it especially since it’s a logical paper and a comparison opinion type paper digging for the main idea of the articles used for sources.

Once I have thoroughly read the articles once more and know my material well I’ll fill in the outline more and write the essay more efficiently. Now I do not use the outline method as shown above other than as a mental thing in the imagination. I can visualize this outline and generally fill in the blanks as I am writing. Others I know must have an outline to work from in order to write. It’s all personal preference.

Picking your types of argument is based on the assignment for the piece your are writing. There are 3 main ways to structure the argument. These are:

Classical

  • Introduction, statement of background, proposition, proof, refutation and conclusion

Rogerian

  • Introduction, summary of opposing views, statement of understanding, statement of your position, statement of contexts, statement of benefits

Logical

Inductive Reasoning

  • experiences, anecdotes, statistics and quotations

Deductive Reasoning

  • identify conclusion, examine reasons carefully, formulate premise

Any of these methods and formats will work for a majority of papers, however there are always exceptions to the rules along with ways to combine each method with other methods.

12 ways to make people SMILE!

There are many things that can be done to improve a person’s day. These are only a few.

  1. Thank random people in uniform for their service to society. You may end up making a new friend or learning something about the world from someone with firsthand experience.Did you know it snowed in Afghanistan and the trucks freeze shut requiring our troops to chip ice off the hard way… no ice scrapers! Said vet learned that rubbing alcohol will melt ice easier and help them get into their trucks faster!)

Another time I stopped a police officer coming out of the court house in downtown and thanked them. I got a seriously confused officer who questioned “Thank you for what?” “Protecting the people” there were tears in his eyes and a smile, no one had stopped him and simply thanked him for doing what he does for a living like that. I got the feeling he’d just come out of a bad court room case and really needed the pick up!

  1. Keep fun treats in your office that are to share. Licorice, lemon drops, M&M’s, peanuts, are all great items to keep handy…It’s fun to watch a boss act like a little kid when they see there’s a favored treat available… Their guard goes down just for a second and they are very human about it which for me gives a glimpse of the real person not just the professional I know.
  2. Teach your children to entertain themselves by making faces at other drivers when stopped at red lights. My kids did this to a police officer just as the light turned green… she had trouble driving through the intersection she was laughing so hard!
  3. Send a funny e-card to various people in your address book
  4. Leave a random small treat on a co-worker’s desk in a random “run by chocolating” or “run by treating”. My co-workers do this to me because I do it to them!
  5. Compliment your boss on something you really like about their supervisory style
  6. Compliment someone’s outfit or a part of their outfit
  7. Buy treats at lunch and then offer one to the clerk you just bought them from
  8. Give the commuter bus driver a break when you know he’s been on the road for a couple hours and needs a bathroom run and there’s time before you have to take off. It doesn’t take much to keep a head count and open the doors for other passengers and they LOVE the opportunity to stretch!
  9. Take a plate of goodies from a work potluck to the receptionist who didn’t get to go OR go down and give her a quick break so she can go!
  10. Take a random coffee run with co-workers and then pay for a co-worker’s treat despite protests. I have a couple people I go for a random coffee run with and it’s funny to watch a boss protest when those they supervise treat them to a coffee and get the response “you can have your turn the next time I’m in need of a coffee run like this” we all take turns spoiling each other.
  11. Bring home a random but unique goodie to your significant other. I found some cherry flavored jelly beans just before Valentine’s Day by a brand I’d never heard of and they turned out to be super good. I only got one bag and when I went back for more they were all gone!

 

Friday will be my last day….

The last day I can use the excuse:  “I’m just the clerk” For you see by Tuesday (long holiday weekend coming here), I will no longer be a clerk. Nope, not an Office Assistant I or II or an Administrative Clerk II or anything clerical related. As of Tuesday I will officially be a:

Senior Services Technician!

Yes, this means I have been upgraded, re-classed into the job I should have been in to start with. Actually be in the CORRECT job classification for the duties I have been performing for the last several years. You see, when I started with the state 5 years ago I really was a clerk whom it was rapidly discovered and kept secret for a while that was in disguise… I’m really a technically minded GEEK. One who loves charts, graphs, reports and of all things statistics and tracking information. I love databases and especially being told to go break one while it’s in testing! At one meeting early on in my career with the state, someone asked me some statistical, data related question and I popped off with ” I don’t know nothing, I’m just the clerk!” With that simple sentence I deer trailed the meeting as every professional around me proceeded to lecture me that I was so much more etc etc that after that it became a running joke….Friday I can no longer fall back on that joke! Am I sad about it? A teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy piece of me is the rest is jumping with immense JOY!!!!
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