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Rhetoric Crash Course: Support

    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
    • Claim: “What?”
    • Support: “Why?”
    • 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
    • Factual evidence is evidence that we can verify ourselves, or that has been verified by people we trust.
  • Opinions
    • 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

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:10
  • The Three Elements of Argument 0:34
    • Claim
    • Support
    • Warrant
  • An Example 1:17
  • What is Support? 2:01
    • Information Provided to Back Up a Claim
    • Usually Shows Up in the Body Paragraphs
  • Types of Support 2:21
    • Evidence
    • Appeals to Needs and Values
  • Factual Evidence 3:26
  • Opinions 4:52
    • Four Forms
  • Evaluation of Evidence 5:43
    • Ask These Questions to Evaluate Factual Evidence
    • Ask These Questions to Evaluate Statistics
    • Ask These Questions to Evaluate Opinions
  • Appeals to Needs 9:35
    • Physiological Needs
    • Safety Needs
    • Love Needs
    • Esteem Needs
    • Self-Actualization Needs
  • Appeals to Values 11:27
    • Needs Give Rise to Values
    • Different Groups Will Interpret Values Differently
    • Knowing Your Audience's Values Will Help
  • Evaluation of Appeals to Needs and Values 12:52
    • Have the Values Been Clearly Defined?
    • Are They Prominent in the Audience's Hierarchy?
    • Is It Clearly Related to the Needs and Values Being Addressed?