This guide will go over identifying and describing different claims or lines of reasoning to help enhance your writing.
Simply put, line of reasoning is a logical progression of ideas. It involves making inferences and drawing conclusions based on the evidence presented.When writing a rhetorical analysis essay for instance, it's important to identify the line of reasoning to help you analysis the passage more and make whatever you are writing easy to follow.
There are several ways to identify a line of reasoning in a text:
Look for the main argument or claim: A line of reasoning will typically begin with a statement or claim that the author is trying to prove or disprove.
Identify supporting evidence: A line of reasoning will use evidence to support the main argument or claim. This can include facts, statistics, examples, or expert testimony.
Look for logical connections: The author will often connect the evidence to the main argument or claim using logical reasoning. Look for words such as "therefore," "hence," "as a result," and "thus" which indicate a logical connection between the evidence and the main argument.
Identify counterarguments: A line of reasoning will often address counterarguments or opposing viewpoints. Look for phrases such as "on the other hand," "however," and "nevertheless" which indicate the author is addressing an opposing viewpoint.
Pay attention to the conclusion: The line of reasoning will typically end with a conclusion that summarizes the main argument or claim and the evidence that supports it.
Here is an example of how you might identify a line of reasoning in the text "I Have a Dream" speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the steps provided above:
Text Sample: "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
The main argument or claim in this text is that racial inequality and injustice exist in America and that the country should strive to live up to its ideals of equality and justice for all.
The text provides evidence that racial inequality and injustice exist by referencing the history of slavery and segregation in the United States and the ongoing discrimination against African Americans.
The author uses repetition of the phrase "I have a dream" to connect the evidence of racial inequality and injustice to the main argument or claim. The author also uses metaphor and imagery to connect the idea of a dream to the idea that the country can and should strive to live up to its ideals.
There are no counterarguments provided in the text.
The conclusion of the line of reasoning is that America should strive to live up to its ideals of equality and justice for all, and that the country can achieve this goal by working towards the realization of the "dream" described in the speech.
By identifying the main argument or claim, supporting evidence, logical connections, and conclusion, you can see that the text presents a clear line of reasoning for why America should strive to live up to its ideals of equality and justice for all.