Critical Thinking Paper From the Purdue Online Writing Lab:

From the Purdue Online Writing Lab:Developing Strong Thesis Statements (Links to an external site.)An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesismust be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generallyagreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.Example of a debatable thesis statement:At least 25 percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution.This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think thatthis is how we should spend the nation’s money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education.Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.Organizing Your Argument (Links to an external site.)Claim: The overall thesis the writer will argue for.Data: Evidence gathered to support the claim.Warrant (also referred to as a bridge): Explanation of why or how the data supports the claim, the underlyingassumption that connects your data to your claim.Backing (also referred to as the foundation): Additional logic or reasoning that may be necessary to support thewarrant.Counterclaim: A claim that negates or disagrees with the thesis/claim.Rebuttal: Evidence that negates or disagrees with the counterclaim.Including a well-thought-out warrant or bridge is essential to writing a good argumentative essay or paper. If you presentdata to your audience without explaining how it supports your thesis your readers may not make a connection betweenthe two or they may draw different conclusions.Don’t avoid the opposing side of an argument. Instead, include the opposing side as a counterclaim. Find out what theother side is saying and respond to it within your own argument. This is important so that the audience is not swayed byweak, but unrefuted, arguments. Including counterclaims allows you to find common ground with more of your readers. Italso makes you look more credible because you appear to be knowledgeable about the entirety of the debate rather thanjust being biased or uninformed. You may want to include several counterclaims to show that you have thoroughlyresearched the topic.Example:Claim: Hybrid cars are an effective strategy to fight pollution.Data1: Driving a private car is a typical citizen’s most air polluting activity.Warrant 1: Because cars are the largest source of private, as opposed to industry produced, air pollution switching tohybrid cars should have an impact on fighting pollution.Data 2: Each vehicle produced is going to stay on the road for roughly 12 to 15 years.Warrant 2: Cars generally have a long lifespan, meaning that a decision to switch to a hybrid car will make a long-termimpact on pollution levels.Data 3: Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine with a battery-powered electric motor.Warrant 3: This combination of technologies means that less pollution is produced. According to “thehybrid engine of the Prius, made by Toyota, produces 90 percent fewer harmful emissions than a comparable gasolineengine.”Counterclaim: Instead of focusing on cars, which still encourages a culture of driving even if it cuts down on pollution, thenation should focus on building and encouraging use of mass transit systems.Rebuttal: While mass transit is an environmentally sound idea that should be encouraged, it is not feasible in many ruraland suburban areas, or for people who must commute to work; thus hybrid cars are a better solution for much of thenation’s population.

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