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Read the following statements.

whether it is a claim of fact, policy or

1. Requiring community service

in high school will produce more
community-aware graduates.
2. Within ten years, destruction of
rain forests will cause hundreds of
plant and animal species to become
3. To
reduce school violence,
more gun and metal detectors
should be installed in public

To evaluate an argument, you need

to analyze it.

When you analyze an argument, you

break it down into its parts and
examine them by themselves and in
relation to the other parts of the
Types of Support
REASON - a general statement that
supports a claim.
EVIDENCE - consists of facts, statistics,
experiences, comparisons, and examples
that show why the claim is valid.
EMOTIONAL APPEALS - ideas that are
targeted toward needs or values that
readers are likely to care about.
Inductive and Deductive Arguments

INDUCTIVE - reaches a general

conclusion from observed specifics.
By observing the performance of a large
number of athletes, you could conclude
that athletes possess physical stamina.
Inductive and Deductive Arguments

DEDUCTIVE - begins with a major

premise and moves toward a more
specific statement or minor premise.
Athletes possess physical stamina.
Because Anthony is an athlete, he must
possess physical stamina.
Strategies for Reading an Argument

What does the title suggest? Preview!

Who is the author, and what are his or her
What is the date of publication?
What do I already know about the issue?
Strategies for Reading an Argument

Read once for an initial impression.

Read the argument several more times.
Annotate as you read.
Highlight key terms.
Diagram or map to analyze structure.
Strategies for Evaluating Arguments

Evaluate Types of Evidence - Is it

sufficient to support the claim?
Personal Experience - may be biased, so
do not accept it
Examples - should not be used by
Strategies for Evaluating Arguments

Statistics - can be misused, manipulated

or misinterpreted.
Comparisons and Analogies - reliability
depends on how closely they correspond
to the situation.
Relevancy and Sufficiency of Evidence - is
there enough of the right kind to support
the claim?
Strategies for Evaluating Arguments

Definition of Terms - should be carefully

defined and used consistently
Cause-Effect Relationships - evidence that
the relationship exists should be present
Implied or Stated Value System - are they
consistent with your personal value
Strategies for Evaluating Arguments

Recognizing and Refuting Opposing

Question the accuracy, relevancy or
sufficiency of the opponents evidence.
Does the author address opposing viewpoints
clearly and fairly?
Does the author refute the opposing viewpoint
with logic and relevant evidence?
Strategies for Evaluating Arguments
Unfair Emotional Appeals
Emotionally Charged or Biased Language
False Authority
athletes endorsing underwear
movie stars selling shampoo

a car being named a Cougar to remind you of a
sleek animal
a cigarette advertisement featuring a scenic
Strategies for Evaluating Arguments

Unfair Emotional Appeals

Appeal to Common Folk
an ad showing a product being used in an average
a politician suggesting he is like everyone else

Ad Hominem - attack on the person rather

than his/her viewpoint
Join the Crowd Appeal or Bandwagon
What emotional appeal is being used?

Come early so you wont have to stand in line

because everyone knows you can make a deal
with Dave and save.

As a test pilot, Susan Gibbs knows performance.

Thats why I drive a Mustang, she says.

Olsons pizzas are lower in fat and calories.

Other pizza makers dont care about your health.
Emotional appeals continued
We can work magic with your children, says
Eileen of Eileens Day Care. Call upon us, and
your children will be happy you did.

Liberty Bell Airlines flies anywhere in this great

land, from sea to shining sea.

As a young man, Candidate Alan Wilson learned

what it means to work hard by spending long
hours lifting boxes and sweeping floors working in
a department store.
Errors in Logical Reasoning
commonly called logical fallacies
invalidate the argument or render argument flawed

Circular Reasoning/Begging the Question

Female police officers should not be sent to
crime scenes because apprehending
criminals is a mans job.
Hasty Generalization - conclusion derived
from insufficient evidence
Because one apple is sour,
all of them in the bowl must
be sour.
Errors in Logical Reasoning
Non Sequitur (It Does Not Follow)
Because my doctor is young, Im
sure shell be a good doctor.
False Cause
Because I opened the umbrella when I
tripped on the sidewalk, the umbrella must
have caused me to trip.
Either-Or Fallacy
Because of the violence, TV must be either
allowed or banned.
For Each Argument:
Identify the claim.
Outline the reasons to support the claim.
What types of evidence are used?
Evaluate the adequacy and sufficiency of
the evidence.
What emotional appeals are used?
Does the author recognize or refute
counter arguments?
Step 1: Identify the Authors
An authors assumptions consist of things the
author takes for granted without presenting
any proof (in other words, what the author believes or
accepts as true and bases the argument on).
Ask yourself, What does the author take for
If the authors assumptions are illogical or
incorrect, the entire argument will be flawed.
Readers may be misled unless they identify the
authors assumptions.
2008 McGraw-Hill Chapter 11: Evaluating an
21 Higher Education Author's Argument
Step 2: Identify the
Types of Support
Types of support refers to the kind of
evidence the author uses to back up the
Ask yourself, What kind of support does the
author present to back the argument?
Support can include research findings, case
studies, personal experience or observation,
examples, facts, comparisons, expert testimony
and opinions.
2008 McGraw-Hill Chapter 11: Evaluating an
22 Higher Education Author's Argument
Step 3: Determine the
Relevance of the Support

Relevance means the support is

directly related to the argument.
Ask yourself, Is the support directly
related to the argument?
Unless the author is an expert, his or
her opinion or personal experience may
not be particularly relevant.
2008 McGraw-Hill Chapter 11: Evaluating an
23 Higher Education Author's Argument
Step 4: Determine the
Authors Objectivity

The authors argument has objectivity

when the support consists of facts and
other clear evidence.
Ask yourself, Does the author present
facts and clear evidence as support?

2008 McGraw-Hill Chapter 11: Evaluating an

24 Higher Education Author's Argument
Step 5: Determine the
Arguments Completeness
An argument is complete if the author
presents adequate support and
overcomes opposing points.

Sometimes authors do not give enough support.

Sometimes they leave out information that would

weaken their argument. Their argument would be
stronger if they presented it and countered it.
2008 McGraw-Hill Chapter 11: Evaluating an
25 Higher Education Author's Argument
Step 6: Determine if the
Argument Is Valid

An argument is valid (has validity) if

it is logical.
Ask yourself, Is the argument logical

2008 McGraw-Hill Chapter 11: Evaluating an

26 Higher Education Author's Argument
Step 7: Decide if the
Argument Is Credible

An argument has credibility if it is

believable (convincing).
Ask yourself, Is the authors argument
Validity and credibility are closely
related since an argument that is not
valid will not be credible.
2008 McGraw-Hill Chapter 11: Evaluating an
27 Higher Education Author's Argument
Analyzing an Argument
What issue is presented?
What is the authors argument?
What are some authors assumptions?
What type of support (facts, experts opinions, research,
observations, personal experiences, etc.) do the author/s
How relevant (directly related to the issue) is the
Is the argument objective and complete?
Is the argument valid(logical) and credible (believable)?
Comparing the Arguments:
Compare the types of evidence used.
Which argument did you find more
convincing? Why?
What further information would be useful
in assessing the issue?