Analyzing an Issue and Developing an Argument

To take a side on a subject, you should first establish the arguability of a topic that interests you. Ask yourself the following questions to ensure that you will be able to present a strong argument:

· Is it a real issue, with genuine controversy and uncertainty?

· Can you distinctly identify two positions?

· Are you personally interested in advocating one of these positions?

· Is the issue narrow enough to be manageable?

Analyzing an Issue and Developing an Argument

Once your topic is selected, you should do some research on the subject matter. While you may already have an opinion on your topic and an idea about which side of the argument you want to take, you need to ensure that your position is well supported. Listing out the pro and con sides of the topic will help you examine your ability to support your counterclaims, along with a list of supporting evidence for both sides. Supporting evidence includes the following:

· Factual knowledge – Information that is verifiable and agreed upon by almost everyone.

· Statistical Inferences – Interpretation and examples of an accumulation of facts.

· Informed Opinion – Opinion developed through research and/or expertise of the claim.

· Personal Testimony – Personal experience related by a knowledgeable party.

In considering your audience, ask yourself the following questions:

· Is your topic interesting?

· Can you manage the material within the specifications set by the tutor?

· Does your topic assert something specific and propose a plan of action?

· Do you have enough material to support an opinion?

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