Structuring your argument

The overall argument in the Proposal may be built up of several individual arguments. The table below gives an excellent structure an individual argument, which incorporates evidence that supports and contradicts your position on the project. This structure allows you to test the strength of each of the arguments related to your topic and will help persuade and convince your reader. Please note that the structure is dynamic and some stages may occur more than once.

Table showing possible stages within arguments

Argument 1 State your position in relation to the topic of argument 1
Present evidence to confirm your position
(Critically) evaluate evidence in relation to your position
Present evidence to contradict your position
Critically evaluate evidence
Present your final position in relation to the topic of argument 1

The text below is an example how an argument can be structured around these stages. The citations have been removed for clarity.

Argument 1: Outsourcing or Inhouse Development Stages
This cost breakdown clearly shows that in monetary terms, outsourcing is the cheaper option State your position
with a 23% saving over in-house (proprietary /worst case) development (+ Cite). Present evidence to confirm your position
Despite the significant saving, this comparison ignores a number of non-monetary factors which also affect cost. Critically evaluate evidence
For instance, outsourcing costs, while cheaper, do present a number of risks, including loss of control over the development (+ Cite). ...... Present evidence to contradict your position
However, effective control can be developed through a service level agreement (SLA)....(+Cite) Critically evaluate evidence
These factors would clearly drive the decision towards out-house development. Present final position

 

Exercise

 

Read the following Proposal extract (citations have been removed for clarity). Drag and drop the argument stages listed below to match the appropriate text. Then click Submit.

  • Present final position
  • Present evidence to contradict your position
  • Critically evaluate evidence
  • Present evidence to confirm your position
  • State your position
Argument 1 The choice of service providerStages
The choice of service provider, Microsoft, can be confirmed after a cost comparison is linked to quality of service.
The provision of The Linux Standard/Enterprise combination would be far cheaper to set up than an equivalent Microsoft.
Over $400,000 can be saved by switching to Linux interfaces on workstations and servers which is a cost benefit if such as system is chosen.
The downside is that ‘personal trainers’ and other users may not be familiar with the Linux environment and savings will be offset by the time taken to train them in the system
As a result the cost saving of the efficiency would be lost through this in the short term.
Salaries for IT staff are generally high, but substantially higher in Linux based systems compared to Microsoft due to the fact that their expertise, at this stage, is in relative high demand.
Also Linux consultancy fees are higher which brings the total operating cost well above a Microsoft alternative.
The total cost is an important reason to consider a Windows based environment with which users are more familiar and where qualified administrators are abundant in the market.