U1: Argument by Fact

Download  |  The assignment sheet [PDF] [DOC]

Download  |  The rubric [PDF] [DOC]

Unit overview  |  This unit introduces students to argumentation and the ways in which arguments are structured within a cultural context. Students learn the Toulmin Model for argumentation, which will be used throughout the semester to discuss and analyze the structural elements and contextual nature of argument. This model introduces terms used throughout the semester: claims, evidence, reasons, warrants, backing, qualifiers, and rebuttal. In this unit, students also learn how factual arguments are characterized and developed, examining how they are part of a cultural context with writers and audiences who come to the situation with values and assumptions. In this unit, students analyze a text, paying attention to how it uses facts, and write a factual argument about the writer’s establish objectivity.

Assigned reading  |   In this unit, students read the following chapters. Instructors assign written homework for each chapter.

  • Chapter 1: Everything is an Argument
  • Chapter 7: Structuring Arguments
  • Chapter 8: Arguments of Fact
  • Chapter 16: Academic Arguments
  • Handbook: Basic Grammar Review

Major Assignment  |  Analysis of a text (3–4 pages). The following prompt is an example of the kind of textual analysis instructors may assign.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania hosts <FactCheck.org>, a website dedicated to separating facts from opinion or falsehood in the area of politics. It claims to be politically neutral. Analyze a recent controversial item listed on its homepage. Carefully study the FactCheck case, paying particular attention to the devices FactCheck uses to suggest or ensure objectivity and how it handles facts and statistics. Then offer your own brief factual argument about the site’s objectivity.

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