Depending on the audience and purpose for your opinion piece, some methods of proof might be stronger than others. Let’s first review the methods of proof you learned about in the previous activity:
- Historical reference: events from the past that support an idea;
- Personal observation;
- Logic and reason;
- Quotations: must be knowledgeable source and relevant;
- Authoritative reference: experts on the topic, must be recognized;
- Facts: research, generally accepted truths, statistics;
- Anecdotes: brief stories, incidents;
- Analogy: comparison of similar concept that explains a more difficult idea;
- Emotional appeal (must be used only to create a sympathetic reader: cannot be excessive).
Audience: Who are your writing this for? If you are trying to persuade someone who doesn’t know much about the topic, then it might make sense to provide an analogy to help make the information easier to understand. If, on the other hand, your audience already knows something about the topic, then facts might be better, or perhaps a personal observation or anecdote.
Purpose: Are you writing to simply express an opinion? If so, then logic and reason might be effective, but if you’re trying to persuade someone to agree with you, then you might better luck using a bit of emotional appeal.
Content: What is your opinion about? If you’re expressing an opinion about a topic that is very emotionally charged, then you have to be careful about the language you use and choices you make. If you upset or offend someone, they’re not as likely to listen to you.
Assignment 2: Writing an Opinion Paragraph
Paragraphs are the building blocks for most written texts. They help a writer organize and sort ideas, and they make it easier for a reader to read a text because the paragraphs break up ideas into more manageable pieces. In most cases a paragraph consists of a topic sentence, supporting details, and a concluding sentence (however, in news articles and fiction, paragraphs may sometimes be only one sentence long).
Based on the readings in this activity, decide which argument you found more convincing: do cell phones and mobile technology hurt relationships, or bring us closer together?
Write a paragraph supporting your opinion (you must take a side—don’t argue both sides). Use at least three methods of proof to support your answer, but make sure they are the strongest methods of support given your audience and purpose. Your audience will be a group of senior citizens, some of whom may use computers, but most of whom do not use mobile technology. Your purpose is to persuade them to agree with you.
Make sure you include:
- a topic sentence that makes my opinion clear to the reader;
- at least three supporting details, using at least three different methods of support;
- a quotation from one of the articles in this activity as a method of support;
- an in-text citation in my paragraph using the format provided in this activity;
- a full citation at the end of the paragraph;
- complete sentences;
- correct spelling and punctuation;
- a concluding sentence.