For Freshman Composition Courses and Argumentative Writing Courses.
Nancy Wood's Perspectives on Argument offers the most complete coverage of the research paper available in an argument writing text.
This argument book explains argument theory clearly and applies it to written, visual and oral argument. It presents complete instructions on how to write a research paper that makes an argument. It encourages students to find multiple perspectives on issues before they decide on their own perspective, and it provides strategies for finding common ground. A classroom-tested assignment sequence allows students to progress from easy to more difficult writing tasks and to integrate classroom reading, thinking, and writing at every stage as they complete them. Also, the readings provide thought-provoking essays that help students form their own opinions about modern issues.
- Reading, critical thinking, and writing are taught as integrated and interdependent processes. A chapter that combines instruction in reading and writing shows how they can be integrated to create better argument. Extensive instruction in critical reading and critical thinking appear throughout. Assignments and questions that invite critical reading, critical thinking, and original argumentative writing appear at the end of every chapter in "The Rhetoric" and at the end of every section of "The Reader."
- Cross-gender and cross-cultural communication styles are presented in a unique chapter that provides for a classroom in which every student can find a voice. Students learn to identify and develop their own unique styles of argument and to recognize how their styles may have been influenced by family background, gender, ethnic background, or country of origin. Also included are international students' perspectives on the argument styles of their countries. Many readings in the book are by authors of varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
- Explanations of the elements and structure of argument include the Toulmin model of argument, the classical modes of appeal, the traditional categories of claims derived from classical stasis theory, and the rhetorical situation. Theory is integrated and translated into language that students can easily understand and apply. For example, students learn to apply theory to recognize and analyze the parts of an argument while reading and to develop and structure their own ideas while writing.
- Audience analysis includes the concepts of the discourse community, the familiar and the unfamiliar audience, and Chaim Perelman's concept of the universal audience. Students are also taught to anticipate the initial degree of resistance or agreement from a potential audience along with ways to modify or change audience opinion.
- Productive invention strategies help students develop ideas for papers.
- Library and online research is presented as a creative activity that students are invited to enjoy. Workable strategies for research and note taking are provided along with criteria for evaluating all types of sources, including those found online. Students are taught to document researched argument papers according to the most up-to-date MLA and APA styles.
- Exercises, class projects, and writing assignments at the ends of the chapters invite individual, small group, and whole class participation. Collaborative exercises encourage small groups of students to engage in critical thinking, and whole class projects invite students to participate in activities that require an understanding of argument. Classroom-tested writing assignments include the exploratory paper, which teaches students to explore an issue from several different perspectives; the position paper based on "The Reader," which teaches students to incorporate readily available source material from "The Reader" in their first position paper; the Rogerian argument paper, which teaches students an alternative strategy that relies on establishing common ground with the audience; and the researched position paper, which teaches students to locate outside research, evaluate it, and use it to develop an issue of their own choosing. Examples of student papers are provided for each major type of paper. The writing assignments in this book are models for assignments that students are likely to encounter in their other classes.
- Summary Charts at the end of "The Rhetoric" present the main points of argument in a handy format. They also integrate the reading and writing processes for argument by placing strategies for both side by side and showing the interconnections.
- A total of 117 different readings in "The Rhetoric" and "The Reader" provide students with multiple perspectives on the many issues presented throughout the book. Eleven of these readings are argument papers written by students.
- The readings in "The Reader" are clustered under sixteen subissues that are related to the seven major general issue areas that organize "The Reader." This helps students focus and narrow broad issues. Furthermore, the readings in each subissue group "talk" to each other, and questions invite students to join the conversation.