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Thinking Critically, Seventh Edition
John Chaffee et al.
Additional Chapter Activities
Chapter 10: Constructing Arguments

  1. Arguments are constructed with reasons that support a particular conclusion. In academic writing, for example, you are often asked to make an argument about a particular subject, be it an idea, a text, or an issue. Write a short essay in which you describe how you think people make arguments when they are writing or talking informally (i.e., in a non-academic setting) with friends or family. Do the same rules of logic, reasons, and conclusions seem to apply? (Be careful not to confuse the sense of "argument" we are using here—statements made in support of conclusions—with the negative sense of "having an argument" with someone. Clearly the two are related, but "making an argument" should not involve anger in the way that "having an argument" can.)

  2. Making an academic argument often means you will need to find sources (by conducting research) to support your conclusions. The internet offers an overwhelming amount of information, and so it can function as a very useful research tool for finding sources. Write a short essay in which you describe some of the web sites you tend to visit regularly. Could they ever be used as sources? Are they reliable, kept up to date, well organized, informative? Why or why not?


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