Discussion: First, choose a topic for which you are able to write the following: (a) a proposition or main point that you will argue for, (b) argument(s) supporting your proposition, (c) argument(s) opposing your proposition. Second, look for information (evidence) with which to build arguments for and against your proposition. And third, use the information to write an essay that convinces your readers that your proposition is right. Use the guidelines below and the example that follows to help you develop your essay. (Also see "Thinking Logically" in the index for more.).
Searching and Selecting.
1. Searching * Review your texts or class notes for possible topics. Also think of related issues or problems you hear debated locally or nationally. (Focus on subjects that are serious, specific, timely, and debatable.).
2. Selecting * Test a possible topic in the following way: (a) identify a reasonable point or proposition to argue for, (b) list one argument supporting this proposition, and (c) list one argument opposing it.
Generating the Text.
3. Collecting * Look in books, magazines, or newspapers for information. Take notes, especially on strong arguments supported by the opinions of authorities and by factual evidence. Label arguments "pro" (for your proposition) or "con" (against).
4. Assessing * Check the best pro and con arguments. If you need to change your main point in order to defend it more effectively, do that now. Then decide on the best arrangement of your ideas. (Consider saving your best pro argument for last.).
Writing and Revising.
5. Writing * Develop your argument using your planning as a guide. If you become stuck, ask a classmate to be your ear: read your proposition and talk through your argument.
6. Revising * Review, revise, and refine your argument before presenting it to your readers. Have a classmate review your wiring as well.
Is the proposition reasonable and clearly stated?.