Parts of an Argument

Outlining an Opposing Position

Outlining an opposing position, as with a summary, not only refutes or rebuts an argument; it's also a way in which to introduce your position. Explicitly addressing those who disagree provides an opportunity for demonstrating why the opposition is wrong, why a new position is better, where an argument falls short and, quite often, the need for further discussion.

For example:

Although there is obviously a strong case for introducing multicultural topics in the English classroom, not all would agree with the argument I've put forth here. One of the most vocal critics of my position is George Will. For example, Will's editorial in Newsweek states that the reason "Johnny Can't Write" is the misguided nature of English teachers who focus more on issues of multiculturalism, political correctness, and new theories of reading such as deconstruction than on the hard and fast rules of paragraph development, grammar, and sentence structure. [Summary: A concise yet fair summary of Will's main argument.]
Yet, as I have shown here, multicultural methods clearly do not interfere with teaching writing. [Refutation #1: Disproves Will's position by referring to research already cited.] Further, Will demonstrates a certain bit of nostalgia in this piece for "older ways" that, although persuasive, has no research, with the exception of Will's childhood memories, to back it up. [Refutation #2: Exposes a flaw in Will's argument.] Although most of us think the way we were taught must be the right way, such is not necessarily the case. We should neither confuse nostalgia with research nor memory with the best curriculum. [Opposing argument: Memory and research are not the same; thus, Will's point is wrong.]
« Previous
Continue »