Evaluating Persuasive Arugments in Text

Evaluating Persuasive Arugments in Text

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Introduction to Psychology

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Learning Target/Goal for Tutorial

The learning target or goal for this tutorial is:

I can understand arguments in persuasive text and decide if the arguments are valid.

To decide how well you understand this target, you may need to define a few words:

Persuasive text:  Persuasive text is text that tries to get the reader to think or act a certain way.  It is not just designed to inform the reader; it also wants the reader to agree with the author's position.

Arguments: Most students think arguments means fights.  That is not the case in this learning target.  Arguments are the reasons or points the author makes to convince the reader to do or think in agreement with the author.  Another word that is a synonym of argument in this context is assertion.  An assertion is a reason to support the author's point.

Valid: A valid argument is one that follows rules of logic and gives complete evidence for the position.  Most readers think of a valid license, but that is not what this word means in the context of an argument.

Source: Jodi Owens-Kristenson

Evaluating Persuasive Arguments

This slideshare reviews information to help readers understand the questions they can ask and the fallacies they can look for to judge whether or not persuasive text presents valid arguments or assertions.

Source: Adapted from: Burke, J Readers Handbook (2002) and Marzano, Yanocki, Hoegh, & Simms Using Common Core Standards (2013)

Apply Learning to a Text

Use the learning from the tutorial to analyze the following article against year round school.  The author offers several arguments in support of a long summer break.  Use the six questions from the video to analyze the arguments from this persuasive essay.  Cite evidence from the essay in your response.  You may type your essay or write it in a notebook.  Submit your essay to your teacher once done.


The six questions are: 

1.  Is the main point clear?  Are the assertions clear?  To answer this question, please cite the main point and assertions from the reading.  Then comment on the clarity of the main point or assertions.

2.  What evidence is presented?

3.  Are the sources for the evidence reliable?  Please explain the sources and how reliable you believe them to be.

4.  Is the evidence convincing and sufficient?  Please explain why you believe the evidence is convincing or not convincing.. sufficient or not sufficient.

5.  Are the inferences based on the evidence logical?  First explain what inferences are made from the evidence.  Then discuss whether or not the evidence is logical.

6.  Is the other side of the issue presented?  What would be the other side of the argument.

7.  Are there any errors in logic?  (Use your notes from the slide presentation to decide if there are errors in logic.


Use the following checklist to self-evaluate your essay:

Logical reasoning:

  • I have correctly identified the point of the essay.
  • I have correctly and accurately identified the assertions in the essay.
  • I have logically applied the six questions in my analysis of the essay
  • I have accurately applied the errors in logic in my analysis of the essay.

Clarify of Writing

  • I reread my analysis and edited my answers to that:
    • My sentences make sense
    • I have correct punctuation
    • I have correct capitalization

Source: The essay comes from Write Source. Questions adapted from Reader's Handbook.