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ERIC Number: ED404646
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 4
Abstractor: N/A
A Canon for Argumentation?
Beason, Larry
Composition Chronicle, v10 n2 p5-7 Mar 1997
Composition teachers are faced with so many writing textbooks on the market that it indeed seems useful to examine them in detail, looking for any distinguishing characteristics as well as commonalities. A content analysis focused on one aspect of the 24 argument texts available: the sample arguments they include. The texts contained a grand total of 1,152 essays, an average of 48 essays per book. Nobody would expect any one essay to be found in every book, but it seemed sensible to expect overlap. However, the overwhelming majority of essays appeared just once. A mere 61 of the 1,152 essays (5.3%) appeared more than one time. Only seven appear in more than four textbooks. A number of political, pedagogical, and marketing reasons explain why these seven essays appear relatively often, but the fact remains that these essays, especially the top three, are likely to be treated as models of argumentation. A closer look at their commonalities might shed some light on what is valued in terms of argument. The essays have much in common, such as a clear stance on a controversial issue, considerable support for the author's position, and a grounding in a specific context and exigency. Four common traits are worthy of analysis because they are not as obvious: (1) tone or ethos; (2) style; (3) multiplicity; and (4) rights and responsibilities. It does not appear that textbook writers have decided on a canon for arguments, but this may be a healthy sign of diversity. (TB)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A