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The TRACE acronym was used in a book titled Perspectives on Argument by Nancy Wood several years ago to help remind writers of certain standard elemens necessary for an argument essay, as follows:
Text--Analyze the text and determine what genre the text is, as well as its unique qualities
Reader (audience)--Who is your intended audience and can they be convinced by a well-thought-out argument? Is your audience likely to have beliefs, especially prejudices, that will make them difficult to convince?
Author--As you construct your argument, you need to know as much about the author of the work as possible--biographical background, creative history, reason or motivation for writing
Contraints--Are there any special contraints--belief systems, attitudes, prejudices--that will "color" your audience's perceptions and make convincing them more difficult?
Exigence--The reason for making the argument--did something occur that requires an argument response?
Hope this helps.
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