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Common Problems with
Arguing a Position

Issue

____    The issue the student is writing about is not really an issue: there is no counter argument.

____    The issue is not adequately described or opposing views are not clearly explained.


Position

____    The writer does not assert a position on the issue; the writer may waffle, agreeing with one side and then the other, but never taking a stand.

____    The writer merely reports opposing positions.

____    The thesis is asserted too soon or too late.

____    The key terms of the thesis do not seem appropriate and are not carried through the essay.
 


Argument

____     It is difficult to see why the writer takes the position; the reasons would be difficult or impossible to list.

____    There is no explicitly cued, logical progression to the argument.

____    The argument would be stronger if the points were arranged in a different order.

____    Support is thin--relatively few examples and anecdotes and little logic

____    The argument is adequately supported but seems flat, uncommitted, lacking surprises or insights, and likely to bore readers.

____    The writer ignores readers--no objections or opposing arguments accommodated or refuted.


Tone

____    The tone seems inappropriate to the writer's purpose and assumed readers.