Making strong claims
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Making Strong Claims The goal of any argument is to change the mind or perspective of your audience In order to do this, you need to provide a claim that is interesting/important and reliable evidence for believing the claim.

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Making Strong Claims

  • The goal of any argument is to change the mind or perspective of your audience

  • In order to do this, you need to provide a claim that is interesting/important and reliable evidence for believing the claim.

  • Thus, the core to any researched argument is the combination: Claim + Evidence


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Qualities of a Strong Claim

  • 1) Claims must be Substantive

  • 2) Claims must be Contestable

  • 3) Claims must be Specific


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Claims must be Substantive

  • Claims need to say something substantive about the subject you are discussing

  • A lack of substance usually indicates a aimless walk through of data

  • Substantive claims should cause interest in the subject for the reader


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Claims that are not Substantive

  • This paper will discuss the role of evolution on the Galapagos Islands.

  • Evolution is a process that can occur on Earth


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Claims that are not Substantive

  • This paper will discuss the role of evolution on the Galapagos Islands.

  • Evolution is a process that can occur on Earth

  • Neither claim tells us anything about Evolution, nor do they inspire the reader to challenge their beliefs


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Claims that are Substantive

  • This paper will discuss the role of evolution on the Galapagos Islands.

  • In the 1970s, two British scientists demonstrated aspects of evolution that even Darwin never saw

  • Evolution is a process that can occur on Earth

  • All species on Earth go through the same evolutionary processes in the same way.


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Claims must be Contestable

  • Significance is related to the claims’ contestability

  • No one contests claims that the reader already believes

  • Should force the reader to ask for evidence to support the claim. (Must ask the reader to change or challenge their preconceptions)


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Claims that are not Contestable

  • Darwin went to the Galapagos Islands to research his theory of evolution.

  • The Smithsonian Naturalist Center shows a wide variety of species


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Claims that are not Contestable

  • Darwin went to the Galapagos Islands to research his theory of evolution.

  • The Smithsonian Naturalist Center shows a wide variety of species

  • Neither claim challenges the beliefs of the reader, nor do the encourage the reader to ask for evidence to support the claims


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Claims that are Contestable

  • Darwin went to the Galapagos Islands to research his theory of evolution.

  • Darwin’s discoveries provided indisputable evidence of “Common Ancestry”

  • The Smithsonian Naturalist Center shows a wide variety of species

  • The Naturalist Center provided evidence for a variety of species, but no evidence of adaptation within each species


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Claims must be Specific

  • The claims should avoid vague language

  • Include concepts the reader should look for in the argument

  • Should cover all of the major concepts of the argument


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Claims that are not Specific

  • The principles behind evolution are very important

  • I learned a lot at while I was at the Smithsonian Naturalist Center


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Claims that are not Specific

  • The principles behind evolution are very important

  • I learned a lot at while I was at the Smithsonian Naturalist Center

  • Neither claims provides any specific information, nor do they help the reader prepare to understand the evidence


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Claims that are Specific

  • The principles behind evolution are very important

  • Neo-darwinism is Darwin’s theory of evolution coupled with Mendel’s theory of heredity

  • I learned a lot at while I was at the Smithsonian Naturalist Center

  • At the Naturalist Center we studied variation, adaptation, and mutation


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Qualities of a Strong Claim

  • 1) Claims must be Substantive

  • 2) Claims must be Contestable

  • 3) Claims must be Specific



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