Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

The Well-Crafted Argument: Across the Curriculum, 1st Edition

  • Fred D. White
  • Simone J. Billings
  • ISBN-10: 1133050476
  • ISBN-13: 9781133050476
  • 384 Pages | Paperback
  • COPYRIGHT: 2013 Published
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About the Product

THE WELL-CRAFTED ARGUMENT: ACROSS THE CURRICULUM, FIRST EDITION guides students through the process of writing effective arguments across the disciplines. Built from the Rhetoric section in the Fourth Edition, this edition covers critical reading strategies as well as writing, researching, and documenting a topic, and includes a new chapter: "Argument Across the Disciplines." This brief rhetoric includes a visual emphasis while maintaining the authors' practical, skill-building approach. Each chapter ends with a Summary, Checklist, and Writing Projects. In addition to guidance on drafting and revising arguments, the authors provide a variety of composition strategies, including freewriting, outlining, and shared reading. In-depth instruction, combined with real student writings and a focus on argumentation in the professional workplace, engages students and helps them discover their own voices, within and beyond the Composition classroom.


  • A THOROUGH DISCUSSION OF CRITICAL READING STRATEGIES that helps students to understand and evaluate arguments, perform successful peer critiquing, and draft and revise their own arguments.

  • A COMPREHENSIVE INTRODUCTION TO THE THREE PRINCIPAL METHODS OF ARGUMENT: Separate chapters are devoted to instruction in Classical, Toulmin, and Rogerian methods of constructing arguments.

  • EXTENSIVE USE OF STUDENT ESSAYS to represent the full range of argumentative writing: Student argumentative essays illustrate different topics and strategies and form the basis for discussions, exercises, and writing projects.

  • A FOCUS ON THE WRITING PROCESS as it applies to argumentative writing: The writing process--gathering ideas, drafting, and revising--is presented in the context of structuring and writing effective arguments.

  • COMPREHENSIVE INSTRUCTION IN CONDUCTING RESEARCH for the purposes of argument: Chapter 8, "Researching Your Argument," helps students to locate and use print, database, and Internet resources, to use effective search strategies, and to avoid plagiarism. Chapter 9, "Documenting Your Sources," presents MLA and APA citation styles, with examples.

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

Text Box: Interdisciplinary Characteristics of Argument. Why Argue? What Is an Argument? What Is an Arguable Thesis? Using Evidence in Argument. Communicating with a Purpose. The Process of Composing an Argument. 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. Visual Aids as Tools for Argumentative Writing. Steven Waldman and John C. Green, "Tribal Relations". Chapter Summary. Checklist. Writing Projects. Herb Block, "The Cartoon".
Text Box: Reading Critically Across the Disciplines. Reading as a Construction of Meaning. Active Versus Passive Reading. Reading as a Writer of Arguments. Writing a Summary. Melissa Slager, "Death to the Classics!". Reading with a Pencil. Samuel Lipman, "Say No to Trash". Reading Visuals in Arguments. Joseph J. Feeney, S.J., "Philosophers, Theologians, Post Modern Students: Why They Need Each Other". 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. Galileo Galilei, "Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina". Chapter Summary. Checklist. Writing Projects.
Text Box: The Classical Model Across the Disciplines. Argument in the Ancient World. The Classical Model of Argument. John Guillebaud and Pip Hayes, "Population Growth and Climate Change". Reinforcing Aristotelian Appeals with Visuals. Anti-Defamation League, "School Vouchers: The Wrong Choice for Public Education". Kurt L. Schmoke, "Why School Vouchers Can Help Inner-City Children". Chapter Summary. Checklist. Writing Projects.
Text Box: How the Toulmin Model Works Across the Disciplines. 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. Chapter Summary. Checklist. Writing Projects.
Text Box: How the Rogerian Model Works Across the Disciplines. The Rogerian Model of Argument. Organizing Your Argument Using the Rogerian Model. Kimberly Shearer Palmer, "Let's Talk About Sexual Harassment in Middle School". Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail". Student Essay: Daniela Gibson, "Who Owns Our Children?". Chapter Summary. Checklist. Writing Projects.
Text Box: Applying Methods of Reasoning in Different Disciplines. Argumentative Reasoning. The Nature of Fallacies. Strategies of Reasoning. Errors in Reasoning: A Taxonomy. Max Shulman, "Love Is a Fallacy". Chapter Summary. Checklist. Writing Projects.
Argumentation Strategies in the Arts. Arguing critically about a topic in the visual arts. Arguing critically about a topic in literature. Argumentation Strategies in the Social Sciences. Arguing critically about a topic in history. Arguing critically about a topic in political science. Argumentation Strategies in the Natural Sciences. Arguing critically about a topic in biology. Arguing critically about a topic in astronomy/space exploration. Argumentation in the Workplace. Arguing critically in legal contexts. Arguing critically in management contexts. Arguing critically in engineering contexts. Chapter Summary. Checklist. Writing Projects.
Text Box: Research Methods in Different Disciplines. The Three Faces of Research. Searching Before You Research: Taking a Mental Inventory. Focusing Your Research for Argumentative Essays. Formulating a Strong Thesis. Researching Using the Internet. Useful Types of Internet Sources. Searching on the Web. Useful Websites for Writers of Argument. Researching Using Print Resources. Gathering Information from Email, Telephone Conversations, Interviews, and Surveys. Taking Effective Research Notes. The Role of Serendipity in Research. Evaluating Your Sources. Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism. Incorporating Outside Sources into Your Argument. Chapter Summary. Checklist. Writing Projects.
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". Chapter Summary. Checklist. Writing Projects.

New to this edition

  • A new Chapter 7, "Argument Across the Disciplines," enhances and expands the already interdisciplinary focus of the text.
  • In-text boxes have been added to Chapters 1-6 and 8, highlighting the interdisciplinary applications of each particular chapter's topic.
  • The interdisciplinary nature of argument is an organizational feature for the book as a whole, with special attention given to argumentation in the disciplines that comprise the professional workplace--business, law, and engineering.
  • Reading Clusters from the Fourth Edition are now available online, through CourseReader. Learn more at