A great format and resource to...
When writing a persuasive essay, the first thing you must do is clearly define your stance. This will help you organize the rest of your material prior to writing your essay and will also aid you in writing a clearly defined thesis statement.
A great format and resource to use when writing a persuasive argument is the Toulmin Model of Argument. This resource helps you to clearly state your claim or main point and support it rationally. Based on the Toulmin Model, you need a clearly defined claim. This is a statement that you believe to be true based on fact or judgement. An example of a claim is, "You should wear a jacket to the beach."
In order to support this claim, you need to include grounds.
Grounds are your proof and may be
- an authority's opinion or
- beliefs, or testimony from primary sources
Based on the above claim, the grounds you may use to prove the claim are
"You should wear a jacket to the beach because the temperature is only fifty degrees."
"You should wear a jacket to the beach because everyone at the beach is wearing a jacket."
"You should wear a jacket to the beach because you always complain that you are cold."
Once you clearly present your claim and supporting grounds, your audience may make a warrant or inference based on the information you presented. The warrant is unstated, but it is based on the claim and grounds you present.
A warrant may be based on
- ethos: credible source
- pathos: emotional
- logos: logic
Ethos, pathos, and logos are often referred to as appeals, because the idea is that you will appeal to your audience's logic, emotion, or through the use of a credible source.
Based on the claim and grounds presented above, the warrant may be
"You should wear a jacket to the beach because the temperature is only fifty degrees." The warrant is fifty degrees is not warm, so you need to dress appropriately.(Logos)
"You should wear a jacket to the beach because everyone on the beach is wearing one." The warrant is everyone is wearing a jacket because it is cold. (Ethos)
"You should wear a jacket to the beach because you always complain that you are cold." The warrant is no matter the temperature on the thermostat, you have previously complained you are cold. (Pathos)
Finally, you need to consider all possible sources for rebuttal. The rebuttal acknowledges the exceptions or limitations to an argument. This is an important step because you may
- do more research to enhance your argument
- acknowledge the lapses in your argument and offer an alternative or justification for the lapses
Once you have organized your claims, grounds, warrants, and rebuttals, you can begin to write your essay. In your introduction, you need to clearly state your claims in a thesis statement. Your introduction should also preview or outline your argument for your readers. Then each body paragraph should address one claim and include specific grounds to support each claim. Whenever possible, you should include a variety of authority, testimony and statistical evidence. These details should be clearly cited as well. Lastly, you want to include a paragraph or two about the possible limitations to your argument. The concluding paragraph should reiterate your argument and perspective.