Good Reasons: Designing and Writing Effective Arguments

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-01-01
  • Publisher: Longman
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Engaging and accessible to all students, Good Reasons is a brief, very readable introduction to argument by two of the country's foremost rhetoricians. By stressing the rhetorical situation and the audience, this rhetoric avoids complicated schemes and terminology in favor of providing students with the practical means to find "good reasons" for the positions they want to advocate to their audiences. Supporting the authors' instruction are numerous readings by professional and student writers. Good Reasons is distinctive in its emphasis on visual persuasion and the presentation of arguments in various media, including electronic media. It includes a thorough discussion of visual design and how good document design can support good reasons, as well as a unique introduction to arguments on the World Wide Web. Good Reasons is also distinctive in considering narratives as an important aspect of argument.

Table of Contents



What Do We Mean by Argument?

1. What to Argue About.
A Book that Changed the World.
Why Silent Spring Became a Classic.
Reading Arguments.
Finding Arguments.
Rachel Carson, "The Obligation to Endure."

2. Finding Good Reasons.
The Basics of Arguments.
The Basics of Reasoning.
Finding Good Reasons.
Supporting Good Reasons.
Deciding Which Good Reasons to Use.
Lani Guinier, "The Tyranny of the Majority."

3. Thinking More About Your Audience.
What Exactly is an "Audience?"
Who Will Read Your Argument?
Why People Reach Different Conclusions from the Same Evidence.
Creating Your Readers.
Letters to the Editor, Sports Illustrated, September 4, 2000.
Rick Reilly, "Bare in Mind."
"Got Milk?" ad with Mark McGwire.

4. The Rhetoric of Arguments.
Facts Alone Do Not Persuade.
Ethos: Creating an Effective Persona.
Choosing an Appropriate Voice.
Pathos: Appealing to Your Readers' Values.
The Language of Arguments.
Rhetorical Analysis.
E.B. White, "Education."


Options for Arguments.

5. Definition Arguments.
Kinds of Definitions.
Building a Definitional Argument.

Scott McDonald, "Understanding Comics."
Meghann O'Connor (student), "Cheerleading Is a Competitive Sport."

6. Causal Arguments.
Kinds of Definitions.
Building a Definitional Argument.

Edward R. Tufte, "The Cholera Epidemic in London, 1854."

7. Evaluation Argument.
Kinds of Evaluations.
Building an Evaluation Argument.
Eric Gable and Richard Handler, "In Colonial Williamsburg, the New History Meets the Old."
(student) Natascha Pocek, "The Diet Zone: A Dangerous Place."

8. Narrative Arguments.
Kinds of Narratives.
Building a Narrative Argument.
Leslie Marmon Silko, "The Border Patrol State."

9. Rebuttal Arguments.
Critical Thinking.
Building a Rebuttal Argument.
Lance Armstrong, "A Defense of the Open Road."

10. Proposal Arguments.
Components of Proposals.
Building a Proposal Argument.
Donna Lopiano, "Don't Blame Title IX."

11. Putting It All Together.
Keep Your Goals in Mind—But Stay Flexible.
Read As You Write.
Switch from Writer to Reader.
Focus on Your Argument.
Focus on Your Style and Proofread Carefully.
Get Responses to Your Draft.


Designing, Presenting, and Documenting Arguments.

12. Effective Visual Design.
Understanding Visual Arguments.
Print Is a Visual Medium.
Design Basics.
Rhetoric of Type.
Graphic Presentation of Information.

13. Effective Web Design.
Arguments on the Web.
Creating a Web Site.
Principles of Web Design.
Navigational Design.
Audience Considerations on the Web.

14. Effective Oral Presentations.
Planning an Oral Presentation.
Delivering an Oral Presentation.
Multimedia Presentations.

15. Effective Research.
Research: Knowing What Information You Need.
Planning Your Research.
Finding What You Are Looking for in Print Sources.
Finding What You Are Looking for in Electronic Sources.
Evaluating Sources.
Taking Notes.

16. MLA Documentation.
Intellectual Property and Scholastic Honesty.
MLA Work-Cited List.
Citing Books.
Citing Periodicals.
Citing Online Sources.
Citing Other Sources.
Sample Argument Paper Using Sources:
(student) Chris Thomas, "Should Race Be a Qualification to Attend College?"

17. APA Documentation.
APA References List.
Citing Books.
Citing Periodicals.
Citing Online Sources.
Citing Other Sources.

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