Annotated Rogerian Argument Outline
Reflect on the goal of a Classical Argument: to take a position on one side of an issue and try to persuade the audience by refuting the opposing position. Now, consider that a Rogerian Argument objectively explores both sides of the same issue, identifying common ground and proposing a compromise based on that common ground.
This is an annotated outline, meaning it explains the purpose of each paragraph. Read through this document, then use your understanding of the paragraph goals to construct your own outline. A skeleton outline is included at the end of the document for you to copy/paste and build your own outline. Be sure to include all of these paragraphs in the correct order.
Before you begin
Consider the rhetorical situation:
Your Audience:Â Two groups who share a common problem but disagree about how to solve it.
Your Purpose:Â To explain each perspective to the other side so that their common goal or value becomes clear, then to propose a compromise that brings each side together to move towards achieving the goal.
Your Role: Although you may prefer one approach over the other, your role is to be an objective mediator who reduces the conflict by proposing a compromise that benefits both sides. Word choice and tone must be free of bias.
Parts of a Rogerian Argument
Provide some history and context for the issue and provide an overview of the controversy or disagreement surrounding it. Appeal to pathos to make a connection with the audience so that they, too, feel a need to reach a compromise. Then, state a thesis that is a Claim of Fact, noting the disagreement and suggesting a way forward through compromise.
â€¢ Body Paragraphs:
1.Â Overview of Side A. Keep the tone objective and support this paragraph by using research that accurately illustrates the views of that side. (Think of this as Side Aâ€™s â€œmain claim.â€)
2.Â Validation of Side A.Â Identify and explain the most convincing points of Side Aâ€™s argument. Help the reader see the link between these points and Side Aâ€™s ultimate goal or value. (Think of this as Side Aâ€™s â€œsub-claims.â€)
3.Â Overview of Side B.Â Keep the tone objective and support this paragraph by using research that accurately illustrates the views of that side. (Think of this as Side Bâ€™s â€œmain claim.â€)
4.Â Preferability of Side B.Â Focus on the parts of Side Bâ€™s viewpoint that are most convincing and use logos and ethos evidence to demonstrate their strength. (Think of this as Side Bâ€™s sub-claims).
5. UseÂ one or more paragraphsÂ to do the following:
a. concede that Side Bâ€™s perspective is not perfect (provide details), but
b. show that Side Bâ€™s approach will best meet the goals and/or values of both sides (explain how and support with evidence).
6.Â Restate the issueÂ to remind the audience that both sides share a common problem. Point out that both sides have a common goal and shared values, thenÂ propose a compromiseÂ that will reduce the conflict and move both parties towards the common goal. The compromise must be something new that neither side has considered and it must be achievable. Do not propose something that has already been tried and failed. Do not ask either side to simply change their minds about their position.
Review the strongest points of both sides and identify overlap in views and shared goals. Remind them that the proposed compromise will achieve some, if not all, of the hoped-for outcomes of both sides. Provide a call to action or a warning about the consequences of inaction.
See the next page for a skeleton outline you can copy and paste to create your outline.
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