Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

The Well-Crafted Argument, 6th Edition

  • includes 2016 MLA Update Card
  • Fred D. White
  • Simone J. Billings
  • ISBN-10: 1337287288
  • ISBN-13: 9781337287289
  • 592 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2017, 2014, 2011
  • COPYRIGHT: 2017 Published
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About the Product

THE WELL-CRAFTED ARGUMENT, 6th Edition, guides students through the process of writing effective arguments across the disciplines. The two-part structure of this rhetoric/reader includes a complete pedagogical apparatus -- with coverage of critical reading strategies as well as writing, researching, and documenting a topic -- and an anthology of readings grouped into six thematic clusters. In-depth instruction, combined with real student writings, engages students and helps them discover their own voices. The text's visual emphasis and the authors' practical skill-building approach are enhanced with a full-color format. Summaries and checklists in Part I, "Connections Among the Clusters" and other study aids in Part II, and writing projects throughout the text encourage students to apply what they've learned. In addition to guidance on drafting and revising arguments, the authors provide a variety of composition strategies, including freewriting, outlining, and shared reading. Each student text is packaged with a free Cengage Essential Reference Card to the MLA HANDBOOK, Eighth Edition.


  • Part I features expanded commentary on key topics such as formulating an arguable thesis, common problems associated with composing an argument and ways to avoid them, how to write a summary, and using the Internet for research.

  • A thorough discussion of critical reading strategies helps students to understand and evaluate arguments, perform successful peer critiquing, and draft and revise their own arguments.

  • Separate chapters are devoted to instruction in Classical/Toulmin and Rogerian methods of constructing arguments, providing a comprehensive introduction to these principal methods of argument.

  • Extensive use of student essays represents the full range of argumentative writing. Both Part I and Part II use student argumentative essays to illustrate different topics and strategies and form the basis for discussions, exercises, and writing projects.Part I, "The Rhetoric of Argument," considers the writing process -- gathering ideas, drafting, and revising -- in the context of structuring and writing effective arguments.

  • The text provides comprehensive instruction in conducting research for the purposes of argument. Chapter 7, "Researching Your Argument," helps students to locate and use print, database, and Internet resources; use effective search strategies; and avoid plagiarism. Chapter 8, "Documenting Your Sources," presents MLA and APA citation styles, with examples.


"I love the sample essays, the clear explanations of things like fallacies and appeals, and the way the textbook explains 'argument' and 'essay' concepts."
— Julie Baker, Northeastern University

About the Author

Fred D. White

Fred D. White received his Ph.D. in English (with a concentration in Rhetorical Theory and Composition Studies) in 1980 from The University of Iowa and began teaching at Santa Clara University that same year. He has taught expository writing and literature courses at both the community college and university level. A professor of English emeritus at Santa Clara University, White offered courses in first-year composition, argumentation, nature writing, and an introduction to poetry. In 1997 he received the Louis and Dorina Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence. He is the author, most recently, of THE WRITER'S IDEA THESAURUS (Writer's Digest Books, 2014) and WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS? A WRITER'S GUIDE TO TRANSFORMING NOTIONS INTO NARRATIVES (Writer's Digest Books, 2012). He is also the author of APPROACHING EMILY DICKINSON: CRITICAL CURRENTS AND CROSSCURRENTS SINCE 1960 (Camden House, 2008), THE DAILY WRITER: 366 MEDITATIONS TO CULTIVATE A PRODUCTIVE AND MEANINGFUL WRITING LIFE (Writer's Digest Books, 2008; A Quality Paperback Book Club Featured Selection), ESSENTIAL MUIR: A SELECTION OF JOHN MUIR'S BEST WRITINGS (Heyday Books, 2006), and LIFEWRITING (Quill Driver Books, 2004). His articles have been published in such journals as Arizona Quarterly, College Literature, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Cambridge Companion to Emily Dickinson, North Dakota Quarterly, Pleiades, San Jose Studies, South Dakota Review, Walt Whitman Review, and The Writing Instructor.

Simone J. Billings

Simone J. Billings received her Ph.D. in the Division of Language, Literacy, and Culture from Stanford University in 1994. Presently a senior lecturer at Santa Clara University, where she has worked full-time since 1980, she generally teaches non-fiction writing courses: freshman composition, freshman composition for honors students, argumentation, and creative non-fiction (e.g., profiles, satires, interviews, reviews, travel writing). In Fall 2009, Dr. Billings received a grant as a Fulbright Scholar to work with the Open Campus of the University of the West Indies on developing curriculum for online and blended (both online and face-to-face) delivery of writing classes. As a Fulbright Scholar, she also ran workshops on design of writing classes, written response to student papers, and writing program design for writing instructors of the Open Campus. In Fall 2007, she received the Dr. David E. Logothetti Teaching Award. Dr. Billings has presented numerous papers at the annual conventions of College Composition and Communication. She has also served as a consultant to the writing program at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, on Barbados. Her research interests include (1) instructor commentary on and assessment of student writing and (2) various sites and manifestations of literacy.

Table of Contents

1. The Nature and Process of Argument.
Why Argue? What Is an Argument? What Is an Arguable Thesis? Using Evidence in Argument. Refuting Challenging Views. Communicating with a Purpose. The Process of Composing an Argument. Workable Topics for an Argumentative Essay. Using Appeals in Argument. Organizing the Argument. Drafting the Argument. Common Problems in Composing an Argument and Ways to Resolve Them. James Paul Gee, High Score Education. Revising the Argument: A Form of Reevaluation. Reading to Revise.
2. Methods of Critical Reading.
Reading as a Construction of Meaning. Active versus Passive Reading. Reading with a Purpose. Reading as a Writer of Arguments. Writing a Summary. Melissa Slager, Death to the Classics! Reading with a Pencil. Sarah Lewis, Woman''s Mission. Reading with an E-Reader. Reading Visuals in Argument. Joseph J. Feeney, S.J., Philosophers, Theologians, Postmodern Students: Why They Need Each Other. Reading Visuals Critically in the Digital Age. Becoming a Highly Motivated Reader. Reading Responsibly. High Noon (editorial). Active Reading as Shared Reading. Using the Modes of Argument as a Schema for Analysis. The Importance of Open-Mindedness When Reading.
3. Using the Classical Model in Your Arguments.
Argument in the Ancient World. The Classical Model of Argument. The Toulmin Model as a Modern-Day Variation of the Classical Model. John Guillebaud and Pip Hayes, Population Growth and Climate Change. Reinforcing Aristotelian Appeals with Visuals Managing Your Data. Anti-Defamation League, School Vouchers: The Wrong Choice for Public Education. Kurt L. Schmoke, Why School Vouchers Can Help Inner-City Children.
The Toulmin Model of Argument. Virginia Woolf, Professions for Women. The Toulmin Model in Action. STUDENT ESSAY: Daniel Neal, Tobacco: Ignorance Is No Longer an Excuse. Organizing Your Argument Using the Toulmin Model. Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence. Reinforcing the Toulmin Model with Visuals. [IS "Reinforcing Aristotelian Appeals with Visuals Managing Your Data" CORRECT? Or SHOULD THERE BE A PERIOD AFTER "Visuals"?]
4. Using the Rogerian Model in Your Arguments.
The Rogerian Model of Argument. Kimberly Shearer Palmer, Let''s Talk about Sexual Harassment in Middle School. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail. STUDENT ESSAY: Matthew Netterer, "Letter from Birmingham Jail."
5. Reasoning: Methods and Fallacies.
Argumentative Reasoning. The Nature of Fallacies. Strategies of Reasoning. Errors in Reasoning: A Taxonomy. Jamie Whyte, From Crimes of Logic.
6. Argument Across the Disciplines.
How Argumentation Differs from Discipline to Discipline. Strategies of Argument in the Arts. Jonathan Jones, American Gothic, Grand Wood (1930). STUDENT ESSAY: Joseph Forte, Recession-Era Reflections on Percy Shelly''s Ozymandias. Strategies of Argument in the Natural Sciences. G. Scott Hubbard, "Is Space Exploration Worth the Cost?" Berkeley Wellness Newsletter, The Raw vs. the Cooked. Strategies of Argument in the Social Sciences. STUDENT ESSAY: Lauren Silk, Aid to Africa: Proposed Solutions. Margaret R. McLean, When What We Know Outstrips What We Can Do. Strategies of Argument in Workplace-Related Contexts. W.E. Messamore, Gun Control Debate Heats Up Again. Elena Fawkner, The 10 Most Popular Myths about Running a Home-Based Business Online. STUDENT ESSAY: Melissa Conlin, Challenger Shuttle Disaster Recommendation.
7. Researching Your Argument.
The Nature of Research. Searching Before You Research: Taking a Mental Inventory. Focusing Your Research for Argumentative Essays. Researching Using the Internet. Useful Types of Internet Resources. Searching on the Web. Useful Websites for Writers of Arguments. Researching Using Print Resources. Gathering Information from Email, Telephone Conversations, Interviews, and Surveys. Taking Effective Research Notes. The Role of Serendipity in Research. Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism. Incorporating Outside Sources into Your Argument.
8. Documenting Your Sources: MLA and APA Styles.
Citation of Source Material: A Rationale. Which Documentation Style to Use? A Guide to MLA Documentation Style. Presenting Quoted Material. Index for Citing Sources: MLA Style. Using Author/Page In-Text Citations. Preparing the MLA List of Works Cited. SAMPLE STUDENT PAPER: MLA Documentation Format. Daniela Gibson, Why We Should Punish. A Guide to APA Documentation Style. Presenting Quoted Material. Index for Citing Sources: APA Style. Using Author/Year In-Text Citations. Preparing the APA List of References. SAMPLE STUDENT PAPER: APA Documentation Format. Jarrett Green, Child Molestation: Anything but Your Typical Crime.
1. Masterpieces of Argument: What Do They Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion? A Pulitzer Prize winning photograph: Kevin Carter, Sudanese Child and Vulture Plato, Allegory of the Cave. Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress. Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Keynote Address at the First Woman''s Rights Convention. Frederick Douglass, I Hear the Mournful Wail of Millions.
2. Athletics and Academics: How Do They Benefit Each Other?
Are Student Athletes Really Students? Edward Koren, Game Score, Test Scores (editorial cartoon). Bryan Flynn, College Sports vs. Academics. Dave Newhouse, Brawn & Brains: Student Athletes Get a Bum Rap. Herbert D. Simons, Derek Van Rheenen, and Martin V. Covington, Academic Motivation and the Student Athlete. John R. Gerdy, Is Athletics Meeting Its Purpose? STUDENT ESSAY: Bryan Cook, "Paradox of Payment."
3. International Relations and the Global Economy: What Are the Key Issues?
What Effects Could the Patriot Act Have on Individual Liberties? Mike Luckovich, Border Control (editorial cartoon). Issues for Further Research: Privacy vs. National Security. Darrin Bell, Candorville (cartoon). James Bamford, Big Brother Is Listening. STUDENT ESSAY: Joseph Cotter, "The NSA''s Global Leviathan." Terminals. Erica Naone, RFID''s Security Problem. David Frum, "Does Immigration Harm Working Americans?" Jennifer Asenas and Kevin Johnson, "Economic Globalization and the Given Situation . . .". Cruz Medina and Aja Martinez, "Contexts of Lived Realities in SB10 70 Arizona: A Response to Asenas and Johnson''s ''Economic Globalization and the Given Situation.''"
4. Multicultural Learning: What Are the Priorities?
Who, If Anyone, Benefits from Multicultural Education? Signe Wilkinson, Family Tree (cartoon). John Darkow, English: The National Language. J.Monte Wolverton, Linguistic Police. Hamilton, Bilingual or Immersion? Thomas & Collier, Two Languages Are Better Than One. POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Education in English/English First. STUDENT ESSAY: Regina Patzelt, Education in English: The Proven Benefits of a Bilingual Academic Program. STUDENT ESSAY: Yung Le, English First. Staff Writers, 17 Scary Stats on Minority Education in America. Breea C. Willingham, Perspectives: Improving Race Relations One Journalism Class at a Time. STUDENT ESSAY: Chris Garber, The Importance of Multicultural Education.
5. Media Matters.
Roz Chast, The I.M.s of Romeo and Juliet (cartoon). National Council of Teachers of English, Literacy Learning for the 21st Century [NCTE Policy Brief]. Phillip Britt, Identity Thieves Hit a New Low. Issues for Further Research: Online Social Networking. Jonathan Zimmerman, Hooked on Facebook. Rodney Smolla, Speech Overview. Issues for Further Research: Book Banning. Kurt Vonnegut, A Letter to the Chairman of the Drake School Board. POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Two Student Essays on Book Censorship. STUDENT ESSAY: Kiley Strong: The Myth of Censoring Within the American Education System. STUDENT ESSAY: Gaby Caceres, Censorship of Books for Public High Schools: When Necessary, When Not. Issues for Further Research: Effects of Media Violence. Another Issue for Further Research: Plagiarism. Deborah R. Gerhardt, The Rules of Attribution. Trip Gabriel, Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in the Digital Age.
6. Biotechnology Research: What Role Should Ethics Play?
Can Biomedical Issues Be Separated from Politics? Dave Coverly, Political Science/Politicized Science (cartoon). Arthur Caplan, Bioengineering and Self-Improvement. Robert P. George, Ethics, Politics, and Genetic Knowledge. John W. Donahue, The Stem Cell Debate. Issues for Further Research: Genetic Engineering. Editors of Scientific American: The Need to Regulate "Designer Babies". Kerryn Sakko, The Debate Over Genetically Modified Foods. Scientific American, "Inside the Meat Lab." STUDENT ESSAY: William Paton, "The Role of Genetically Modified Organisms in a Shrinking World."

New to this edition

  • To provide students with quick and easy access to the latest changes in MLA style, The Cengage Essential Reference Card to the MLA HANDBOOK, Eighth Edition, is packaged free with each student text.
  • New selections have been added to Chapter 6, "Argument Across the Disciplines," which demonstrates how argument is the engine that drives inquiry in all academic subject areas. Chapter selections feature argument at work in the visual and literary arts, in the natural sciences and technology, in health and nutrition, in politics and international studies, in ethics and law, and in business.
  • Added coverage of visual argument throughout the text includes special attention to the use of visuals as a heuristic device, and the uses of visuals in the context of Classical/Toulmin and Rogerian modes of argument.
  • The sixth edition features twelve new articles and three new student essays, providing more current updates to reading clusters and reflecting how new information routinely changes positions on enduring topics about which people argue.
  • Instruction for using the Toulmin model of argument has been combined into Chapter 3, "Using the Classical Model in Your Arguments," demonstrating how the Toulmin model has adapted the Classical model to our modern age.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor's Companion Website  (ISBN-10: 1305674812 | ISBN-13: 9781305674813)

Everything you need for your course in one place! This collection of book-specific lecture and class tools is available online via Access and download PowerPoint presentations, images, instructor’s manual, videos, and more.

MindTap English, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for White/Billings' The Well-Crafted Argument  (ISBN-10: 1305872142 | ISBN-13: 9781305872141)

MindTap English for White/Billings’ The Well-Crafted Argument, 6th Edition is the digital learning solution that powers students from memorization to mastery. It gives you complete control of your course—to provide engaging content, to challenge every individual, and to build their confidence. Empower students to accelerate their progress with MindTap. MindTap: Powered by You. MindTap engages students to become better thinkers, communicators, and writers as they review every aspect of the writing process. Interactive activities emphasize grammar and mechanics. A paper management system allows electronic submission, grading, and peer review while tracking potential plagiarism. Video tutorials and examples support research and professional tutoring guides students from rough drafts to polished writing. Analytics track student progress as MindTap works with existing learning management systems.

Student Supplements

MindTap English, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for White/Billings' The Well-Crafted Argument  (ISBN-10: 1305872142 | ISBN-13: 9781305872141)

MindTap English for White/Billings’ The Well-Crafted Argument, 6th Edition helps you learn on your terms. INSTANT ACCESS IN YOUR POCKET. Take advantage of the MindTap Mobile App. Read or listen to the book and study with flashcards and practice quizzes. MINDTAP HELPS YOU GEAR UP FOR ULTIMATE SUCCESS. Track your scores and stay motivated. Improve your college writing and research skills with built-in tools, such as a professional tutoring service, a database of scholarly sources and interactive videos to support research papers. A dictionary and other tools keep you organized and on track. You’ll know where you need to focus your efforts. And the MindTap Green Dot will charge your confidence along the way. MINDTAP HELPS YOU MAKE THE TEXTBOOK YOURS. No one knows what works for you better than you. Highlight key text, add notes, and create custom flashcards to gather into a study guide.