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Evidence and Counter Arguments

Lesson standards

9.5(G)

9.4(F)

9.7(E)(ii)

9.5(E)

9.1(D)

9.5(A)

9.1(A)

what will our learning look like today?

Success Criteria:

Students will accurately identify and distinguish between different types of evidence.Identify at least three different types of evidence commonly used in persuasive writing.

Learning Intention:

I will be able to identify, analyze, and incorporate evidence and counter-arguments effectively in my writing to strengthen my persuasive skills.

Language Objective:

I will be able to effectively communicate my analysis of evidence and counter arguments in both written and verbal form

  • Look at this quote from "Great Expecations" by Charles Dickens
  • What do you think it means and what does it mean to you?
Do Now:
  • logical evidence: sound reasoning and facts
  • empirical evidence: evidence acquired by scientific research
  • anecdotal evidence: evidence based on personal experience
  • statistical evidence: factual data represented by a percentage or number
Watch Concept Definition Video

Define

In an argument, a writer or speaker puts forth a set of reasons designed to persuade others to adopt a certain point of view or to take a certain action. The claim, or thesis, is the writer’s or speaker’s position on a debatable issue or problem.In order to construct an effective argument, a writer or speaker must use relevant supporting evidence. Evidence includes facts, examples, and expert opinions that support the claim. The following are some common types of evidence that an author might include:

Define

Additionally, effective arguments often include a counter argument. In a counter argument, the writer or speaker acknowledges an opposing opinion and then presents a rebuttal that attempts to disprove the opposing opinion. Once again, evidence is essential. The writer or speaker must consider which types of evidence will best disprove the opposing view. Note that the counter argument might also include a concession, in which the writer or speaker acknowledges the accuracy of a particular point made by the opposition. A concession can strengthen a writer or speaker’s argument by showing that he or she has considered alternatives and has tested his or her position against a different viewpoint.

counter argument

the part of an argument in which the writer considers and attempts to disprove an opposing opinion

empirical evidence

evidence acquired by scientific research

characteristic

a defining feature or quality that belongs to a person, place, or thing in order to identify it

concession

an acknowledgment of the accuracy of a particular point made by the opposing side

Vocabulary

anecdotal evidence

evidence based on personal experience

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statistical evidence

factual data represented by a percentage or number

structural element

a part that gives structure

logical evidence

sound reasoning and facts

rebuttal

the part of the counter argument that attempts to disprove the opposing opinion

Vocabulary

evidence

facts, statistics, numerical data, quotations, specific examples, and expert opinions that support a claim

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  • various types of evidence the author uses to support his or her opinion and/or rebut an opposing opinion
  • phrases that signal a concession, for example:
    • One might object ...
    • Some may claim ...
    • Some will argue ...
    • Those on the other side of the issue say ...
    • While it is true ...

Watch Intro VideoDirections: Review the Checklist for Evidence and Counter Arguments below. Then read the Skill Model to examine how one student used the checklist to analyze the characteristics and structural elements of argumentative texts in “The Origin of Intelligence.” As you read, identify the question from the checklist the student used for each annotation. Checklist for Evidence and Counter Arguments In order to analyze the characteristics and structural elements of argumentative texts including various types of evidence and treatment of counter arguments, note the following:

Model

Analyze various types of evidence and treatment of counter arguments, including concessions and rebuttals, using the following questions as a guide:

  • What opposing opinion has the author considered in his or her concession?
  • How does the author rebut, or attempt to disprove, that opposing opinion?
  • What types of evidence does the author use to rebut the opposing opinion?
  • How does the counter argument strengthen the author’s main argument?
  • Does the author present more than one counter argument? Why?
  • How might the author’s argument have seemed weaker without a counter argument?

  • transition words or phrases that signal a rebuttal, for example:
    • Nevertheless, ...
    • Still, ...
    • But ...
    • However, ...
    • That is not the case ...
    • My point is still true because ...

Model

“If this were 100 percent true” and “I am the first to admit” both signal a concession, which establishes credibility with readers. “But it is indisputably crucial” indicates a rebuttal.

Analyzing the characteristics and structural elements of argumentative texts can help you identify an author’s argument and any counter arguments that may or may not strengthen the author’s position on the topic. Let’s look at how one reader analyzes the characteristics and structure of counter arguments in the Point essay in “The Origin of Intelligence”:

Skill Model

The reader pays close attention to the author’s language in order to identify a concession. She notes that the author gives examples that show why the opposing argument has some value. Then the reader spots the phrase “but it is indisputably crucial,” which signals a rebuttal. The author states that genetics are more important than anything else and explains that they are a good predictor of intelligence. Making a concession and then rebutting it is an effective way to convince an audience that an author has carefully considered opposing arguments but still stands by his or her own argument. The reader continues reading “The Origin of Intelligence” and analyzes concessions and counterarguments in the Counterpoint essay.

Skill Model

The author concedes that genetics might set a baseline for intelligence but then rebuts the idea. The author also concedes that studies on twins show that intelligence may be mainly genetic, but “However” signals a rebuttal.

Skill Model

In this passage, the reader notices the phrase beginning with while. The first half of this sentence is a concession; the author acknowledges that genetics may set the baseline for intelligence. But the author finishes by presenting a rebuttal: genetics do not determine a person’s potential. Next, the reader highlights the concession that studies done on twins show that genetics may, in fact, play a large part in a person’s intelligence. She notes, though, that the word however signals a rebuttal to this idea. The author points out that other studies on adopted children show that the environment in which a person grows up has a more significant impact on his or her intelligence. By making concessions and rebutting them with strong evidence from research, the author strengthens her argument and makes it more convincing to readers.

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