Creating paragraph-level arguments may seem like a skill that is only relevant in academic writing, but the demonstration of critical thinking that is involved is also applicable to persuading other audiences. In the Writing Centre’s Introduction to Academic Writing and Writing an Academic Paragraph videos, we use an Oreo cookie model of demonstrating critical thinking that identifies a claim, evidence that supports the claim, and analysis that explains the connection between the claim and the evidence (i.e., the “so what?”). Those three elements of an argument are typically present when attempting to persuade an audience because the elements demonstrate why the argument is convincing. Identifying how you use a similar argument structure in your everyday life, such as in your professional role, may help you to feel more comfortable when structuring arguments in academic paragraphs. Please see below for some hypothetical business examples where claims, evidence, and analysis create persuasive arguments.
Claim: Statement of what you want people to do or agree with; should be something someone could agree or disagree with.
Evidence: Facts that support the claim.
Analysis: The explanation of why the evidence supports the claim.
Request for Funding
Claim: The funding body should provide $1,000,000 to support the development of the community project.
Evidence: Communities in cities with comparable populations have seen a demonstrable increase in community engagement due to similar programs and a resulting drop in crime and victimization (cite research).
Analysis: This project will support the city’s overall stated goals of improving communities and will assist in efforts to reduce poverty, increase community pride, and support the long-term success of residents.
Proposal for Customer Service Initiative
Claim: The customer service initiative should be approved because it will ensure customers have significantly easier access to services, which will improve customer loyalty.
Evidence: A pilot project demonstrated the program’s effectiveness and value to customers (cite report), and information from similar projects in comparable companies identified projected benefits to the company (cite data).
Analysis: As identified in the company’s operating plan for this fiscal year, new programs are needed to ensure that clients experience exceptional support that will result in long-term satisfaction and customer loyalty (cite plan). This program will dramatically increase the company’s existing support to customers, and in doing so, positions the company well to be able to attract new clientele by promising and delivering high levels of customer service.
Claim: Candidate A should be the successful candidate in the job competition.
Evidence: The candidate has the necessary background and skills (cite resume and interview), is motivated to succeed in the position (cite interview), and would be a good fit for the organization (cite references).
Analysis: The priority in this hiring process is to bring someone new into the organization who will support existing processes as well as lead the team to better performance. This candidate has a demonstrated ability to lead teams successfully, has excellent experience that is directly applicable to the role, and is keen to work for the organization. These qualities make the candidate the best choice.