Close Reading

| January 23, 2016

Lesson 3
Joining the Conversation: Digging Deeper into Argument
Introduction: Connecting Your Learning

As you learned in Lesson 2, how the author writes the text will influence how the audience responds to the text. You also engaged a

variety of text types: games, comics, and videos as well as essays. In the contemporary world, texts come in a number of shapes and

sizes, and at the end of this class, your research project will showcase your ability to compose in different media. You’ll learn more

about that later.

Since you’ll soon be composing a rhetorical analysis essay, it’s time to dig deeper into the form of argument in order to continue the

discussion of audience and rhetoric.
Readings, Resources, and Assignments

Required Readings 1.“Logic in Argumentative Writing”
2.“Using Logic in Writing”
3.“Does Logic Always Work?”
4.“Toulmin Arguments”
5.“Distinguishing Between Main Points and Sub Claims PDF”

Required Assignments
Note: In addition to the graded activity, there are non-graded, but required practice activities in this lesson.
1.Close Reading Activity

See the Assessing Your Learning section for more information on each assignment.

rio salado library
ENG101&102 Research Guide: A one-stop shop for all of your English related research needs.

Top 20 Writing Errors Made by College Students: Includes detailed diagrams, descriptions, and exercises to help master common writing


Check Prior Knowledge

Check your knowledge by reviewing this document.

Focusing Your Learning

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
1.Differentiate between inductive and deductive reasoning.
2.Describe Toulmin and Rogerian arguments.
3.Demonstrate skills by completing a close reading assignment.

This lesson maps to the following course competencies:
•Write for specific rhetorical contexts, including circumstance, purpose, topic, audience, and writer, as well as the writing’s

ethical, political, and cultural implications.
•Find, evaluate, select, and synthesize both online and print sources that examine a topic from multiple perspectives.
•Generate, format, and edit writing using appropriate technologies.


Inductive versus Deductive Reasoning

In Lesson 2, you studied the role of the audience. How well you present your arguments will impact how the audience receives them.

While you discovered some general strategies for attracting an audience in the last lesson, your goal here will be to discuss specific

structures of argument. What makes a good argument? How can you check your own writing to make sure that you avoid faulty reasoning?

At the highest level, two kinds of reasoning appear in arguments. Inductive reasoning makes a generalization from a number of specific

I got sick after eating shrimp.

I got sick after eating oysters.

I got sick after eating crab.


Eating shellfish makes me sick.

As the above example shows, evidence was presented first, and the conclusion was based on the evidence. Deductive reasoning works

differently. It takes a general principle (major premise) and then applies it to a specific case (minor premise) to form a conclusion:
Eating shellfish makes me sick.

Clams are a type of shellfish.


Clams will make me sick.

It is important to note that even seemingly straightforward arguments can be flawed. Perhaps the shrimp, oysters, and crab were all

served at the same clambake where the food was not well-prepared. This would mean that the person would not get sick when eating

better-prepared food. Part of your job as readers is to read between the lines, especially when you are responding to a text with your

own argument.

Toulmin and Rogerian Argument
The ENG101 class included the composition of a classical argument where a position was presented, and then a counter argument was

considered before the essay concluded. You should be familiar with other types of argument: Toulmin and Rogerian.

Toulmin arguments are made of three parts: a claim, grounds (or reasons) to support the claim, and unstated assumptions known as

warrants. Breaking down an argument into these basic parts is a great way to test a thesis:
Claim: Parents should buy their kids Mattel toys.

Grounds/Reasons: Because Mattel makes high-quality toys; because Mattel has competitive prices; because millions of Mattel toys are

bought by other parents every year

In this set-up, the author plans to argue that Mattel is a superior brand based on three reasons. If you think back to the basic thesis

form, the reasons would stand as the supports, and the author would have to back up each of these with facts drawn from sources. Yet,

something is unstated here… something important to note:
Warrant: Parents should buy their kids toys of some kind.

If the reader does not believe this assumption, the argument will fail. Thus, the author should address the need for toys in some way

in their paper.

Further, a good critical reading of this argument would think about each supporting reason in turn. In whose opinion is this brand of

toys “quality”? Was it an unbiased report (like Consumer Reports) or the opinion of the company itself? What does “competitive” pricing

mean? If I make a lot of money, the prices will be on a different level than someone making much less. Do the purchases by other

parents make this purchase a sound one? Could they be blindly buying an inferior product merely because of its popularity? A close

reading will dig into these areas as well.

Play the following game to check your knowledge of Toulmin arguments.

The final argument type is Rogerian and is a recommended format for discussing unresolved issues. The Rogerian argument also has three

parts: the core argument, the common ground, and the link between the two.
Core: Homeowners Associations have too much power in the state of Arizona because they can determine what one places in their front

yard, which seems to be in violation of private property laws.

Common ground: Nobody wants to live near an eyesore; attractive neighborhoods raise property values.

Link: Homeowners Associations should focus on problem areas, such as houses that are eyesores due to improper maintenance or

abandonment, instead of regulating lawn ornaments and other items that come down to a matter of personal preference.

an arrow that is pointing to the right
Required practice: Check your knowledge

A lot of vocabulary has been introduced in this lesson. This quick activity will help you check your knowledge. This practice is a

required assignment, but unlike quizzes, you can try it as many times as you’d like and it will not affect your grade.

Required Practice: Vocabulary

The differences between Toulmin and Rogerian arguments can be summed up thusly:


Adversarial tone

Non-confrontational, collegial, friendly tone

Although concessions may be made, arguments mostly are based on refutation.

Respects others views and allows for more than one truth

Opponent is “wrong” and will be overcome by evidence.

Seeks to achieve common ground, not to fully convince someone

At this point, you might be wondering how to use these various forms. You will write an essay in Lesson 5, but for now, let’s practice

with a close reading. A close reading offers an opportunity to dig into a text and conduct an analysis of its key components. If you

haven’t done a close reading before, remain calm! This assignment is a guided reading, meaning that you will be given specific criteria

to help you focus your efforts.

Assessing Your Learning

There is one non-graded practice activity that is required for this lesson.

Graded Assignments

Review the lesson several times before proceeding to the assessments below.

Important information: Before you begin your assignments, please review and follow the procedures below in the completion of ALL

writing assignments.
Lesson 3 Assignment

Close Reading: In order to complete this close reading, you will need access to VoiceThread. Review these Voice Thread Instructions


For this assignment choose one of the spoof ad groups from AdBusters. Within each campaign, you will find numerous examples. Only

choose one image to focus on.

If you access these course materials using a screen reader, one of the ads listed on this website,, may be a better

choice. When the page opens, there will be a large graphic, followed by text. The text describes the ad in greater detail.

Once you’ve found an image please upload it to VoiceThread, following the instructions listed above, and annotate it using the

following questions:
1.How would you frame your reaction to this argument?
2.What appeal did this use (ethos, pathos, logos), and how can you tell?
3.Does the author use inductive or deductive reasoning here? How can you tell?
4.Depending on your choice, a Toulmin or Rogerian argument might be the best way to respond. Which structure would you use in a

response? Please be specific.
5.End by citing your image. Please note that you will annotate your image on VoiceThread, but will submit a link to your presentation

here on RioLearn. Be sure to read the Voice Thread Instructions PDF carefully.

For a sample of this assignment, please view this VoiceThread sample: Stop the Traffic.

Your work is worth 50 points and will be scored on the following rubric:


Max Points

Completion: All questions are answered.


Content: Content shows understanding of concepts in the lesson and clear examples are provided.


Grammar: All answers have been proofread and are clearly written.


Total Points:


Submission Instructions

When your VoiceThread is ready, please copy the link to your VoiceThread presentation, as indicated in the Voice Thread Instructions

PDF. Select the submit button when you are ready to submit this assignment to your instructor, and paste the link to your presentation

in the space provided: Close Reading.

Review Submitting Assignments if you need help copying and pasting your assignment.

Summarizing Your Learning

Understanding the inner workings of argument will help you become a better critical reader and a clearer writer. As you spend time this

week watching TV or reading news on the Internet, think about the information you’re consuming. Can you recognize the argument forms in

the world around you?

Category: Essay

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