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Writing an Argument: Claim, Reasons, and Evidence

1. Claim   A thesis in an argument is the claim you make about an issue. Your research might alert you to new ideas, sometimes leading you to modify your claim, making it less all-embracing or less extreme.
  Examples Issue   secondhand smoke on airplanes

Audience   general audience

Initial claim (working thesis)   All flight attendants who have been subjected to secondhand smoke should receive substantial financial compensation from their employers.

Modified claim (after some brainstorming and research)   Flight attendants who suffer from diseases shown to be connected to inhaling secondhand smoke on airlines for at least five years before 1995 should have the costs of their treatment and disability covered by tobacco companies.
 
2. Reasons for your claim   State your arguments in support of your claim, and tell why you think what you think. At this point, make a rough outline of your essay: the claim and the reasons you will give for supporting it.
  Examples Claim   Flight attendants who suffer from diseases shown to be connected to inhaling secondhand smoke on airlines for at least five years before 1995 should have the costs of their treatment and disability covered by tobacco companies.

Reason   Tobacco companies have concealed evidence that nicotine causes cancer. Studies show that secondhand smoke can be damaging.

Before 1995, smoking was allowed in most commercial airlines and attendants spent many hours a day inhaling smoke.
 
3. Specific evidence   Reasons are not enough. You also need to show your readers specific evidence supporting your reasons. The details you provide are what will make your essay vivid. Add to the outline any items of concrete evidence you will include to illustrate and explain your reasoning. Include facts, statistics, stories, examples, and testimony from experts.
 
[seealso.bmp]
See also
Basic Strategies
Issue and Audience
Refutation
Methods of Reasoning
Flaws in Logic