united states every night ). another question W r i t i n g

united states every night ). another question W r i t i n g

My outline:

Civic Discourse Topic

The argument that I have chosen to write about is how in person classes are much more effective than online classes.

Claim 1: Communication

  • The social and communicative interaction between student and teacher, and student and student is an important component of classroom learning.
  • While this convenience is nice, it lacks the interactive elements of traditional classrooms that help students develop crucial interpersonal skills for the future.

Claim 2: Grades

  • American Economic Review finds the outcome of online learners tends to contain a negative effect such as low grade point average (GPA) scores on their future achievements.
  • When someone does not have to study and memorize material, it does not embed in their long-term memory the same way it does when they need to retain what they have studied for a closed-book, in-person test.

Claim 3: Health

  • Retention of online students is also a priority concern for administrators of distance education programs and 5% of students who fail to complete degree programs drop out due to mental health problems
  • It’s important for school staff to nurture emotional connections, child psychologists and mental health experts say, even if child is experiencing emotional or mental harm because of social distancing and school closures, according to a nationwide Gallup poll in June.
  • Some lower-income teens say they lack resources to complete schoolwork at home


Bettinger, E., Fox, L., Loeb, S. & Taylor, E. (2017, September 1). Virtual classrooms: How online college courses affect student success. 2855-2875. Doi: American Economic Review 107.9. http://web.a.ebscohost.com.libproxy.sdsu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer? vid=1&sid=8dbc4f57-02aa-4b52-8ad7-71ae9396d86a%40sessionmgr4006

This article is talking about students’ GPA and how their grades have been affected due to online courses.

Koenig, R. J. (2010). A study in analyzing effectiveness of undergraduate course delivery: Classroom, online and video conference from a student and faculty perspective. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 3(10), 13-25. https://onlinelearningconsortium.org/online-vs-cla…

This article is talking about advantages and disadvantages of online vs in class education.

Sethughes. (2012, June 28). Why Traditional Classroom Learning Is Better Than Online Courses – Owlcation – Education. Retrieved October 26, 2020, from https://owlcation.com/academia/Why-Traditional-Cla…

This article is talking about how in class education has much more positive advantages rather than online and that the ratio is not that close.

Richards, E. (2020, August 02). Kids’ mental health can struggle during online school. Here’s how teachers are planning ahead. Retrieved October 26, 2020, from

Loeb, S. (2020, June 01). How Effective Is Online Learning? What the Research Does and Doesn’t Tell Us. Retrieved October 26, 2020, from


Claims in Civic Discourse:

It might help to REVISIT the types of CLAIMS you might make in RELATION TO THE CIVIC DISCOURSE Argument you are making:

Main Argument:

  • First off, you’ll need to choose the Main Argument you want to make: Every main argument (or MAIN CLAIM) must be backed up with claims (and even subclaims).
  • For this Civic Discourse piece (“discourse” means that you are joining a conversation about a civic issue), most students make between 3 to 5 claims that they develop with relevant evidence.

In the “What is Argument” document posted under “pages” on Canvas, I discussed the most common types of claims writers make when making an argument.I urge you to look those claims over to determine which might work best for you in making your argument.

The following information should, however, provide some solid reinforcement of how to articulate claims to your own purposes (based on your specific audience):


  • Claims can also be seen as the reasons you are giving to support an argument.
    • For example, if you are arguing about the topic of the foster care system needing reform, you might make this claim of fact: “The most important reason we need to reform the foster system is because so many kids get ‘lost’ or forgotten in the system.”
      • Evidence and Explanation to back that claim up would follow.
  • Claims help you explain/unfold/build your overall argument about the topic you’ve chosen:
    • For example, if you are arguing about the importance of tightening up gun laws, you might make the claim of fact that: “Too many people have access to guns.”
      • You would then use evidence behind that claim to illustrate and explain the severity of the problem in relation to access.
    • Or maybe you’re arguing about the importance of restricting offshore drilling: You might make the claim of seriousness that “Offshore drilling is destroying the habitats of so many marine animals at an exponential level.”
      • You would then provide evidence to show the damage drilling is doing to specific wildlife.
  • Claims are usually developed in SEPARATE paragraphs which means that they have a big impact on how you organize your piece.
  • Claims of proposal: Since you ARE writing about a civic issue, in closing your piece, you might make a claim of proposal that provides a solution:
    • For example, if you are arguing for stricter gun control nationwide, you might make this claim of proposal:
      • “A few simple steps can be taken to restrict access to guns.”
        • This claim of proposal would then be supported by you unfolding, let’s say, 3 steps—each of which would have evidence to support their validity.
          • “One step would be to make background checks mandatory for every purchaser of a gun across the entire nation.”
            • The evidence to support this might include statistics/info about the importance of background checks.


  • Since you are making an argument about an important civic issue, your discussion should include at least one counterclaim.
    • A counterclaim anticipates what the opposition is saying about the topic you’ve chosen that is in opposition to what you are arguing.
      • For example, in regard to wearing masks in public, the opposition might argue that wearing a mask makes no difference in the spread of Covid19.You anticipate that with the claim of fact that wearing the mask makes all the difference.
        • You would then back that claim up with cited scientific evidence to the contrary.

EVIDENCE: (a few quick notes)

BACKING UP WHAT YOU SAY:Use the research you gained through undertaking the Research Assignment, and don’t hesitate to seek out more as needed (which can become necessary the more your learn about a topic).

  • The claims you use to back up your Main Argument must be backed up with CITED EVIDENCE (use MLA format).
  • Evidence used to support a claim is not usually limited to ONE source, and you don’t have to have the same amount of evidence and explanation behind each claim.
  • Whenever you use evidence, it is important to integrate/explain the evidence in a way so that your audience clearly understands what you’re trying to say. Be careful that you don’t make unsafe assumptions about what they know, or connections they should be making.

To further clarify how you should be developing your claims, here is a trusty formula I use in my RW100 and 200 courses called PIE (which stands for Point, Illustrate, Explain:


A Formula to Develop Effectively

Point:Also known as a CLAIM

  • First, make your claim; this can usually be done in one sentence.
  • This sentence is also called the LEAD IN Sentence in that it indicates exactly what you’ll be discussing in that paragraph as you lead your reader in.

Illustrate: Now you “illustrate” or BACK UP/SUPPORT your claim through evidence.

  • Now is when you start integrating your evidence/research into your discussion (key words, stats, facts, information, quotes, experiments, research findings, song lyrics, a passage from a book or speech, experience, etc.
    • Be sure to CITE correctly any information that you would not have otherwise known had you not looked it up.

Explain: Explain the research you are using and how it fits into supporting your claims and overall argument so that your audience understands clearly.

  • Finally, to effectively develop a claim, you need to explain how your evidence makes your claim which generally will require several sentences
  • Remember to keep your intended audience in mind as you explain evidence to them.


In following this P.I.E formula, it’s important to note that EACH TIME you bring NEW EVIDENCE (Illustrate with evidence) into your discussion, you’ll want to EXPLAIN accordingly as you develop your discussion.

In other word, use your evidence actively.

Identifying and Evaluating Evidence:

As readers, we need to carefully consider how strong the evidence is that writers provide in support of their claims. To determine whether evidence included is effective or not, there are a few questions that we can generally ask (which is indicated under each type of evidence below). When evaluating evidence, it’s important to do so, not only in regard to itself, but also evaluated in connection with the other pieces of evidence in an argument.

For example, maybe one specific research study used by a writer only examined a small number of people which you initially see this as a problem; in other words, the evidence isn’t sufficient, in your view.However, if the argument later provides some statistics that shows a more broad picture that includes studies that focus on a greater number of people, then the two pieces of evidence work together to support the argument more fully and, thus, effectively.


Historical evidence presents facts from the past.The goal here is to take a peek forward into our future; if taking an action in the past turned out badly, it may well be that taking a similar action in the present would be a bad idea.Or, of course, if taking an action in the past had a good outcome, repeating that action in the present may have similar benefits. This type of evidence is often used as an appeal to logos because it appeals to the reader’s sense of logic, is factual, and thus makes sense.

However, this requires that we all agree that the historical situation is similar enough to the present to tell us something about the present.If there are too many differences between the historical situation that is being described and the present, an audience may well decide that the evidence isn’t relevant and reject it.

Another potential issue is that your audience needs to accept your interpretation of historical evidence.If you want your audience to think that a historical event caused problems but they see that there were also benefits, they will likely reject your evidence and not accept the claim that the evidence supports.

  • Evaluating Historical Evidence:How is this historical example relevant to the current situation?Are there significant differences between the two situations that would suggest another possible claim?Is the evidence sufficient?That is, if there is one specific historical example of something happening, is that enough to support the claim?Does the historical evidence seem to come from a credible source?Does the historical evidence seem to have been interpreted correctly?

Statistical or numerical evidence consists of specific numbers.It often tells us how widespread or serious an issue is and is intended to persuade a reader that a matter is worthy of attention. One weakness of numerical evidence is that it can seem rather cold and uninteresting.It tells us how widespread poverty is, for instance, but it may not persuade a reader that we should do anything about poverty – it may fail to convince a reader to actually care about an issue. On the other hand, numbers can easily be used to cause emotion in an audience (like hearing about how many children go hungry in the United States every night).

Another question that readers may ask about numerical evidence is whether it was gathered properly.If there was a study, for instance, the readers want to know that there was an appropriate number of test subjects or that the information was gathered properly.In other words, the statistics, facts and numbers should come from a credible source.

  • Evaluating Statistical Evidence:Were the numbers specific?Does this information come from a credible source?Does the information appear to have been gathered in a way that’s appropriate?Why are these numbers relevant to the claim being made?Are the numbers significant?(Keep in mind that this depends on a number of factors; a 3% decrease in heart disease may not seem like much, but if it is 3% in a nation of 150 million people, that’s a very significant number.)Is the information recent relative to the time the argument was written?

Research studies often involve numerical or statistical evidence but go into more detail about how that information was gathered.These studies are usually performed by academics or experts within fields such as the sciences.Writers may also want to think about using multiple pieces of numerical evidence or research studies that have different qualities.For instance, a writer may want to use a study of a very small group of people because it took place over a long period of time; she or he could then also present another study that looked at a much larger group of people over a much shorter period of time.This would give stronger support to the claim because the two kinds of evidence complement each other.

  • Evaluating Research Studies:Is the source of the study credible, meaning both are they experts in this field and are they unbiased?Was the study well-designed?How is the study relevant to the claim it supports?Are there other ways to interpret the research findings that have been ignored and that contradict or fail to support the author’s claim?Is the research recent relative to the time the argument was written?

Anecdotal evidence looks at individual examples that are related to a claim.Such examples are best when used together with numerical evidence. Individual examples take the reader “inside” a situation; they help the reader feel what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes, so the reader has a more emotional response and may even find such evidence more interesting, while statistical evidence can help the reader see how widespread the situation is.

In anecdotal evidence, writers are expecting readers to accept that the individual example represents the experience of others, even most others, who are in a similar situation.Like historical evidence, anecdotal evidence can be rejected if the reader decides that the example isn’t relevant.If the reader believes that the example isn’t representative of the experiences of others, the reader would reject the evidence.

Personal anecdotes are stories that the writer tells from her or his own experience.These work a lot like anecdotal evidence but also have another potential advantage.They can help the reader learn about the writer himself or herself, helping the reader learn to like and trust the writer, which makes the reader more likely to accept the writer’s claims.Like anecdotal evidence, the reader would need to believe that the author’s experience is typical, that it represents the experience of most other people in a similar situation.If they think that the author is so unique that this experience isn’t common, the reader will likely reject the evidence.

Personal anecdotes are often used to pave common ground with a reader (ethos) and reinforce credibility (since it’s coming from firsthand perspective), in addition to evoking emotion within reader due to unique experiences.

  • Evaluating Anecdotal Evidence and Personal Anecdotes:Is the anecdote detailed enough to persuade a reader that it actually occurred?Does the anecdote appear to be representative of the experiences of a significant number of other people?How is the anecdote relevant to the claim being supported?

Expert testimony is statements from experts who agree with one or more of your claims.The reader needs to believe that the expert’s knowledge is relevant to the question being considered (who wants the opinion of an ophthalmologist on Michael Jackson’s music?).

  • Evaluating Expert Testimony:Is the source credible, that is, are they experts in a relevant field and do they seem to be unbiased?Does the expert’s opinion appear to be itself founded on strong evidence?

Masquerading as Evidence

Sometimes writers present information that appears to be evidence but that actually cannot function effectively as evidence.These are not verifiable facts but are more general statements.Do they work?Well, yes, on some people. These kinds of “evidence” are very persuasive to people who already agree with the claim being made; they are not persuasive to an audience who disagrees with the claim or who doesn’t have an opinion on the claim.

Generalized statements fail to persuade readers because they have no real specifics behind them.Statements like, “Well, everybody knows that Ocean Beach is way cooler than Pacific Beach” are a very weak attempt at evidence.They may work well on an audience who already agrees with you, but they cannot persuade an audience who doesn’t agree.They are not among the “everybody” who already thinks this and the writer hasn’t given them any idea about who that “everybody” is or why the reader should pay attention to those people’s knowledge.

Descriptions of hypothetical events are also weak in persuading people.This is when a writer asks the reader to imagine something that hasn’t actually happened and to agree that if such a thing had happened, there would have been some specific consequences.An audience who already agrees with the claim being “supported” by such a hypothetical example is likely to accept that evidence because they find it very easy to imagine this happening.But a more neutral audience will recognize that there is no real basis for accepting this assumption – that they event never really happened and thus gives no basis in fact for accepting that the imaginary “consequences” were inevitable.None of it happened, so it can’t be evidence.


Gathering the RIGHT evidence as support to your Argument:

BACKING UP WHAT YOU SAY:The research assignment for this Module asked you to gather a variety of sources (research / evidence) to support the claims you’ll be making in your Civic Discourse piece. As you begin delving into your research, you may find the need to extend your research based on what you learn. Never hesitate to seek out more information or check your facts as needed.

  • Always cite information that you would NOT have known if you had not looked it up.
  • Evidence used to support a claim is not usually limited to ONE source, and you don’t have to have the same amount of evidence and explanation behind each claim.
  • Whenever you use evidence, it is important to integrate/explain the evidence in a way so that your audience clearly understands what you’re trying to say.
    • “Integrate” means HOW YOU SET THE QUOTE or EVIDENCE up.
    • “Explain” means that you need to bridge the evidence to the point (explain HOW the evidence supports your point).
    • Assumptions: Be careful that you don’t make unsafe assumptions about what your audiences knows, or that they will make connections you want them to make.
    • Always CLOSE each claim with a closing sentence that reinforces your point (but using different words),

    P.I.E.A Formula to Developing your Body Paragraphs Effectively
    Point: Another word for this is CLAIM.

    • First, make your point; this can usually be done in one sentence.
    • Make sure that your articulate your points very clearly before developing them; this is usually done in one sentence.
    • If you are making a counterclaim, you will need a few sentences (or a paragraph) addressing what your opposition is claiming. Immediately thereafter, make YOUR claim.
    • If your claim begins a paragraph, you will need to use a TRANSITIONING DEVICE so that your guide your reader gracefully into your claim.

    Illustrate through Example:

    • This is where you provide evidence for your point.
    • You must set up your evidence
    • Quote (or paraphrase) your evidence correctly
    • Cite all evidence at the end of the sentence it is used in (MLA format).
    • Choose relevant and persuasive evidence to appeal to your audience.
    • Try to include a RANGE of evidence (not just one or 2 types).


    • Finally, to fully develop your claim, you also need to explain how your evidence supports your claim.
    • Let setting up your evidence, this will require several sentences that will clearly explain to your audience how your evidence supports your claim.

    *Sometimes, your illustration and explanation will overlap. Or sometimes you’ll explain as you unfold your evidence. It’s all good as long as you’re doing BOTH and not OVER-EXPLAINING.
    *If you’re using 2 or 3 pieces of different evidence to support a claim, consider transitioning into a NEW paragraph when you introduce each piece of evidence, or not—up to you; it also depends on how much evidence you’re using, too. Just be sure you explain what you need to explain throughout so that the reader stays on point with your discussion.

    An Example of PIE in use: This is a developed body paragraph from a student’s Civic Discourse essay this past summer:
    We also must ask ourselves why aren’t these police officers being held responsible for some of their actions that seem so obviously against the law? One of the polices that I came across that Congress needs to focus on is qualified immunity which is defined as “a judicial doctrine that protects officers who violate someone’s constitutional rights from civil-rights lawsuits unless the officers’ actions were clearly established as unconstitutional at the time.” (Alpert, Noble, Stoughton). The issue with this law is that the Courts will use other cases with similar police actions to reach the same verdict. Thus, this method does not take into the accounts the case at hand, rather it uses other cases that appear similar as a means of determining a ruling. In some of these cases, police officers are using deadly force on mentally ill people and being protected by the qualified immunity law because there is no baseline for what a “clearly established” action is. One-way communities are already responding to this issue is by rolling out new programs that involve crisis teams to aid mentally ill people instead of having police respond. According to a recent assessment study, the city of Denver in Colorado has “just launched a version of Eugene, Oregon’s non-police mental health team. It’s a pilot, but they’re taking police out of some 911 calls and responding with a social worker and a paramedic instead…and it’s working” (Westerfelt). The idea is to get these crisis teams involved in situations wherein an unstable person creating a disturbance is potentially helped with more appropriate services as opposed to police officers, already under stress, trying to mitigate but unprepared to do so. Think of how much conflict could be eliminated. Moreover, consider how freeing up our police officers from these volatile situations would allow them to “serve and protect” us in more pressing ways.
    *note the CLOSING sentence that is boldfaced)

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