Basic Terms and Terminology Relating to Evaluating an Argument and Its Specific Claims

  • An argument in a text: An argument is the author's reasons for a particular point of view.
  • An opinion in a text: An opinion in a text, in contrast to a fact, is a statement that reflects an author's or the speaker's point of view, beliefs, personal feelings and values

Arguments and Claims

An argument in a text is the author's reasons for a particular point of view, an opinion or a statement of "fact". An argument in a text is not a verbal battle or a disagreement. A claim is similar to an argument but, often, claims ae the author's statement of "fact" which may be or may not be true and factual. Author's use claims to bolster and support their arguments.

As you should have previously learned, a number of different types of texts have arguments, claims, points of view, opinions and statements of "fact"; some of these "facts" and claims may be true and others may be false facts and claims put forward by the author of the text.

Some of the most commonly used types of texts which present the author's reasons for a particular point of view, an opinion or a statement of "fact" include persuasive and argumentative texts, although other texts like expository or analytic texts as well as research studies and other professional scholarly writings also present the author's views, arguments and claims.

We cover the topic thoroughly within Distinguishing Between Fact and Opinion, Biases, and Stereotypes.

Arguments and Claims in Persuasive Texts

As previously discussed, the purpose of a persuasive text is to persuade and convince the readers of the text to accept the author's position, their opinion, their recommendations and/or their point of view. The way that this purpose is achieved is by the author's proving that their point of view and opinions are correct and logical. The author of this type of text uses logic, reasoning and strong solid and accurate evidence. These arguments are presented in a smooth and logical manner from one point to the next.

Some of the opinions presented in a text are those of the author themselves and others may be from known experts. Authors use their sound logical reasoning for their beliefs and opinions so that the readers of the text can be convinced and persuaded to agree with the author's stance because it is the correct position to take. A strong but not overly passionate conclusion should also be a part of this type of text.

Again, the purpose of a persuasive text is to persuade and convince the readers of the text to accept the author's position, their opinion, their recommendations and/or their point of view.

Read more about persuasive texts.

Arguments and Claims in Argumentative Texts

Argumentative texts are highly similar to persuasive texts but they are a little bit stronger and more assertive in terms of its tone and its tenor. Argumentative texts focus more on a comparison of the author's arguments with details about the pros and the cons of the argument so that the author can bolster their arguments and refute the cons against the author's argument, respectively.

Again, authors of argumentative texts use their sound logical reasoning for their beliefs and opinions so that the readers of the text can be convinced and persuaded to agree with the author's stance because it is the correct position to take.

The purpose of an argumentative text is to convince the readers of the text to accept the author's position.

Learn more about argumentative texts.

Arguments and Claims in Expository Texts

Expository texts, in addition to some cause and effect texts as well as some compare and contrast texts also contain the authors' arguments and claims.

Expository texts expose and relate facts and facts alone in order to provide the readers of the text with the opportunity to get an analysis of subject or topic of the text and the facts relating to it. For this reason, expository texts are often referred to as analytical texts.

Expository texts examine a particular topic or subject in depth and then they analyze it and then interpret the analysis of it. In summary, expository texts cover a claim, some evidence and an analysis. These claims and evidence can logically progress from the most important and significant to the least important and least significant, or from the least important and significant to the most important AND significant.

Similar to argumentative and persuasive texts, the authors use their sound logical reasoning for their beliefs and opinions so that the readers of the text can be convinced and persuaded to agree with the author's stance because it is the correct position to take.

Learn more about expository texts.

Arguments and Claims in Problem and Solution Texts

A problem and solution text consists of the presentation of a problem, some possible solutions to the problem and what the reader can do to solve the problem.

Examples of problem and solution texts can include a problem such as social injustice, the opioid crisis in America and the gun violence in our schools. Specifically, an author can present a full explanation and details about opioid addiction in this nation and then present possible, feasible and multiple solutions to this opioid crisis, after which the author will ask the readers to take some action in order to decrease or eliminate this major health care and mental health problem in our nation.

Authors of problem and solution texts present their arguments and claims with sound logical reasoning so that the readers of the text can be convinced and persuaded to act in terms of solving the problem.

Learn more about problem and solution texts.

Arguments and Claims in Cause and Effect Texts

Cause and effect texts present the cause or causes of a particular effect or event and why these causes occur.

Arguments and claims are, again, logically and soundly presented in these types of texts by the author in order to bolster the relationships among and between causes and effects.

Learn more about cause and effect texts.

STILL INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE?

Head over to our piece called Distinguishing Between Fact and Opinion, Biases, and Stereotypes which covers opinions and differentiating fact from opinions if you are interested in furthering your understanding on the topic.

We also cover empirical data and information.

Critically Evaluating the Arguments and Claims in Reading Texts

Readers have to be critical thinkers. As they are reading, readers must critically think about the author's arguments and claims in their writings to determine whether or not these arguments and claims are valid and accurate.

Some of the things that the reader can, and should, look at and critically evaluate include, among other things:

  • The author's prior background, experience and reputation
  • The publication that the text is included in
  • The citations and their references
  • Are the sources of the arguments and claims primary sources? A secondary source? A tertiary source, or one even further removed from the author?
  • Are facts cited and referenced appropriately?

Through the examination of the questions above, the reader should critically evaluate credibility and reliability of the author and the sources of the data and information that the author is using to base their arguments and claims on.

Some arguments, claims and evidence are inherently weak and faulty and other arguments, claims and evidence can be strong and well supported with scientific research.

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