ISARC Five-Part Format for Persuasive Papers
See Kennedy, George A.
Atlanta: SBL, 2003. 132-3.
format: Detailed Explanation
includes a specific, opinionated and deniable thesis statement, and a
very brief explanation of why this is so. For most non-antagonistic
(friendly) situations, the thesis statement should be right at the
beginning of the introduction (Hit’em first and hit’em hard!). "The Introduction
[prooemion] is language
preparing the hearer and making him well disposed toward the proposed
discourse. The function (ergon) and end (telos) of the prooemion ... is
to create attention, receptivity and good will." In the
introduction you may also wish to briefly establish your own “right to
write” on the subject by mentioning your knowledge or experience, or
what research you have done. Only if your audience is hostile to you or
to your standpoint should you begin with a general statement that the
audience is sure to agree with—otherwise such a general starting
sentence is pure “fat,” is a sure sign of a childish writer, and may
turn your readers away from you.
is where you state the facts, evidence, and data and briefly present the logical
arguments that prove why your standpoint is right. Be as specific as
possible, and do not repeat what you put in the introduction. "The Statement
Narration (diegesis) is an exposition of the facts in the hypothesis
favorable to the speaker's side of the case or in the best interest of
the speaker; and …it is defined as an exposition of things that have
happened or as though they had happened. Its function and end is to
provide the hearer with an account and clarification of the action."
(anti-thesis) is a brief, clear statement of your opponent's thesis and
major arguments, stated in a way that even they could not disagree. If
you do not know what your opponent is going to say against your
viewpoint, try to imagine in advance what someone could say against your
point of view. "The Antithesis
is an objection from the opposing person, rebutting credibility in us
and misdirecting the hearer to a more specious thought." You may wish to begin this part of your paper with a
phrase such as, “My opponents allege that…,” “Those who disagree claim
that…,” or “Some people argue that...” Never use the “straw-man” tactic
of painting opponents’ arguments as so weak, ridiculous or
stupid that they can be knocked down with the wave of a hand, but do not make their case for them either. Simply and very
briefly state the main objections to your standpoint. Here, just tell
what they say against you—do not yet say why they are wrong!
- The Refutation
is where you put down those opponents' arguments that you just gave, one
by one, proving they are wrong and telling your readers why they should
not believe your opponents. "The Refutation
or Solution (lysis) is the removal of harm done by the objection and the
returning of the hearer to the original proposition, persuading him to
come to agreement about the question at hand." Never just call opposing arguments “crazy”
or “stupid”—name-calling is not refutation. Instead, if appropriate,
point out how their best opposing arguments are unclear, intellectually
behind the ball or confused on the facts, unbelievable, lies,
impossible in the real world, illogical or involving a fallacy, morally
wrong, discriminatory, just not fitting or decent in a civilized
country, or a waste of time or money. Be careful not to simply
their arguments “confused,” “impossible,” or “a waste of money.”
Instead, you need to explain to the reader exactly WHY the opposing
arguments are confused or impossible or unprofitable, and exactly why
they should not be believed.
begin with “In conclusion,” “To
conclude,” "To sum up," or phrases like that. Just conclude! Your conclusion is
where you reaffirm your thesis statements in other words (never repeat
what you wrote in the introduction!), and then ask your readers to do or
believe something specific as a result of reading your paper. "The Conclusion
or Epilogue (epilogos) is language introduced after the demonstrations
have been given, providing a summary of subjects and characters and
emotions. Its function, Plato says (Phaedrus 2676.), is, at the end (of
a speech), to remind the listeners of what has been said."
may wish to explain to your readers exactly how more good than bad can
come from agreeing with your standpoint, or show how accepting your
proposal is “risk free” to the reader. You may wish to end up your
conclusion with a catchy slogan that the reader will remember (e.g, “Forward
ever, backward never!”) or you can appeal to the reader’s
emotions (e.g., “Men are dying over there! What are you going to do
it?). Never just stop because you run out of things to write—instead,
make the reader say “Wow!" as they walk away.
Quotes from Hermogenes of
Tarsus and Nicolaus the Sophist, in Kennedy as cited above.
educational purposes only.
OW rev 8/08 rev.
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