Parts of an Argument

Demonstrate your Knowledge

Cite relevant sources when generalizing about an issue. This will demonstrate that you are familiar with what others, particularly recognized experts, have already contributed to the conversation. It also demonstrates that you've done your homework, you've read some current literature and that your position is reasonably thoughtful and not based on pure speculation. For example:

Over the past ten years, anthropologists have consistently debated the role the researcher should play when interacting with other cultures (Geertz; Heath; Moss).

You may also connect your argument to a highly regarded authority by demonstrating that you are taking that person's position or contribution to current thinking one step further.

When James Berlin [the chief authority on social rhetorics] created his taxonomy of composition in Rhetoric and Reality, he defined a key historical moment in the way composition studies imagined the function of writing in culture. By focusing on the effect writing has on reality, Berlin's work helped the field recognize how assumptions about discourse marginalized certain groups of students and reinforced ideological beliefs that helped maintain an inequitable status quo.
Such a "social" perspective on writing and language inarguably had a significant effect on the face of composition studies, making it difficult to discuss writing as anything other than social and the teaching of writing as anything other than political. Yet the similarity in how social rhetorics depict epistemology suggests that the term social can be used to describe a diverse group of theories that share this view of reality.
Although such synonymous usage may be an apt label epistemologically, its use as a blanket term frequently obscures the difference within social rhetorics on issues other than epistemic ones. That difference, I argue here, is focused around questions of identity.
« Previous
Continue »