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Writing an Argument: Issue and Audience

Think about the issue.
1. If you are not assigned a topic, choose an issue that is interesting for you to write about and for your readers to read about. The issue you choose should be one that you hold an opinion on; however, you should be prepared to find out more about the issue in order to express and support an educated opinion — which might even differ from your original opinion.
2. Although you might start off with an idea of your position on the issue (a working thesis), make sure that you do a great deal of information gathering. Brainstorm or freewrite, ask others their views, perhaps conduct interviews, and definitely do research (in the library and on the Internet). Find out what has been written on all sides of the issue you are exploring. Make lists of the arguments you come across on each side.
 
Think about the audience.
1. Assess what your readers know, what assumptions they hold, what they need to know, how they could best accept the position you take on the issue, and what strategies will persuade them to respect or accept your views. If you are writing for a general reader rather than for one specifically defined, remember to include any necessary background information; do not simply assume that a general reader knows a great deal more than you do.
2. To grab your readers' attention and drive your point home when you want to inspire them to accept your views, use a variety of these strategies:
 
· figurative language (such as a "bridge of the twenty-first century")
· clear, direct language
· language to establish common ground (such as the inclusive use of we)
· repetition, to reinforce your point
3. Getting your listeners or readers to identify with your cause makes them more receptive to the arguments you present and the action you propose.
 
[seealso.bmp]
See also
Basic Strategies
Claim, Reasons, and Evidence
Refutation
Methods of Reasoning
Flaws in Logic
Writing about Literature: Figurative Language