In the lesson, our professor Rebekah Hendershot goes through an introduction on a rhetoric crash course of support. She starts by reviewing the three elements of argument and then explains what support is, the types of support, factual evidence, opinions, evaluation of evidence and appeals to needs and values.
Source: The Elements of Argument, Annette Rottenberg
The Three Elements of Argument
Claim: The main idea, or thesis, of your argument.
Support: The information that backs up your claim.
Warrant: The “big idea” that connects your support to your claim.
An Example: Cutting in Line at the Movies
Warrant: “So what?”
What is Support?
Support is the information provided to back up a claim.
In an essay, your evidence is usually going to show up in your body paragraphs, following your claim.
The support is the “Why?” part of your argument.
Types of Support
Evidence consists of statements that tend to prove ground for belief.
Facts, including statistics
Opinions, or interpretations of facts
Example: I was here first.
Appeals to needs and values bring up the reader’s needs (for physical and psychological well-being) and values (moral standards) to support the argument.
Example: Everyone here saw you cut in line or It’s wrong to cheat.
Factual evidence is evidence that we can verify ourselves, or that has been verified by people we trust.
Opinions usually take one of four forms:
They suggest a causal connection.
They offer predictions about the future.
They suggest solutions to a problem.
They refer to the opinion of experts.
Evaluation of Evidence
To evaluate factual evidence, ask:
Is the evidence up to date?
Is the evidence sufficient?
Is the evidence relevant?
Are the examples representative?
Are the examples consistent with experience?
To evaluate statistics, ask:
Do the statistics come from trustworthy sources?
Are the terms clearly defined?
Are the comparisons between comparable things?
Has any significant information been omitted?
To evaluate opinions, ask:
Is the source qualified to give an opinion on the subject?
Is the source biased for or against his/her interpretation?
Has the source bolstered the claim with sufficient and appropriate evidence?
Are there other experts who disagree?
Appeals to Needs
Appeals to needs suggest that accepting an idea or performing an action will fulfill some need.
Physiological needs: food, drink, health, sex
Safety needs: security, freedom from harm, order, stability
Love needs: love within a family and among friends, roots within a group or community.
Esteem needs: material success, achievement, power, status, recognition
Self-actualization needs: fulfillment in realizing one’s potential.
Appeals to Values
Needs give rise to values. Most claims contain expressed or unexpressed value judgments.
Values change over time.
Different groups will interpret (and rank) values differently.
Knowing your audience’s values will help you appeal to them more effectively.
Rhetoric Crash Course: Support
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