1.2 Identifying the argument
It is important to identify the general thrust of the argument within the information that you are reading or hearing. Often material that is presented as fact is actually one person’s interpretation of information. So, it is helpful to identify the different elements, outlined in Box 1 in Section 1.1, by exploring the construction of an argument in some different examples.
Example 1 Are cats the best pets?
- The premise or claim. For instance, ‘cats make the best pets’.
- The evidence for that premise or claim. For example, ‘because you can leave them all day and they will fend for themselves’.
- The conclusion – this is somewhat self-evident in the evidence provided. The writer argues that as cats can be left all day, they make the best pets. It is the writer’s opinion that it is this attribute that makes cats the best pets.