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How to Create an Effective Presentation on an Argumentative Topic


The presentation for this class will allow you the opportunity to explore a topic of your choice and present an argument about it. All presentations should last approximately 5 minuets (points may be deducted if they are over a minute over or under 5 minutes) and should be recorded on video and uploaded to blackboard. If there are any issues uploading it directly to blackboard, you can put it on YouTube and link it to blackboard. 

Presenting an argument requires a good structure. Below is the outline of a standard structure used in philosophy. You are required to follow this structure in your presentation and I recommend that you take a similar approach to any argumentative essays or presentations that you do in the future in school or a professional setting!

This is the gist of your argument. You should present two or three reasons that flow into one another in order to lead logically and soundly to your conclusion (thesis). In high school, you probably became familiar with this part of your essay by knowing it as the body of your essay.

For example, if you’re arguing that we need schools to address implicit bias for an early age, we may have the two premises that (1) people acquire implicit biases from a young age and (2) children acquire most of their information at school, and schools are integral in shaping the mindsets of their students.

These two premises, taken together with additional explanations, details, and evidence, lead to the conclusion that schools should address implicit bias in order to reduce its prevalence.

The rebuttal section should raise and address the strongest possible counter argument (or two) against your argument.

For example, if we’re following the same argument as mentioned before, one may argue that parents and home life have a more serious influence on implicit bias than schools, so schools should not focus on addressing this serious issue.

This is the counterargument. You could then refute the counterargument by explaining that while implicit bias certainly does seep into kids at home, schools still have a responsibility to address this issue so that the kids are not acquiring biases at school and also learn the tools to be critical of it at home and in other areas of their lives. 

You can choose any topic that you would like for your presentation. Past topics include: Are video games sports?

Do schools have a responsibility to implement sex ed curriculums?

Should naps be allowed at work?

Should prisons offer college education to inmates?

The one key thing to note is that you must pick one side of the argument and argue for that side. You cannot simply present the outline of an issue and both of its sides.

You must pick one side over the other. For example, you would have to argue that prisons ought to offer college education to inmates because x. Make sure that you pick a specific topic; topics like “racism is a problem,” “kids should get a good education,” etc. are not specific enough you won’t be able to come up with a good or interesting enough argument!

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