Analysing and Presenting Argument

For Mainstream English Years 11 & 12 students studying Analysing Argument and Presenting Argument under the Victorian VCE Curriculum

Scope of the Task for Analysing Argument

Students analyse and compare the ways in which verbal and non-verbal (including visual) language of specified texts is used to persuade readers and viewers to share the point/s of view being presented. 40 marks are allocated to this task with a suggested 800-1000 word count.

Analysing Argument Basics

What are you trying to Analyse with the articles and visuals?

3 Basic Elements

  1. WHAT = What is the argument the author/s are making?
  2. HOW = How are techniques used by the authors?
  3. WHY = Why do the techniques used by the authors affect the audience? What is the Intention of the author to make the audience:
    1. THINK SOMETHING = LOGOS = a logical response = the author uses techniques like appeals to logic / expert opinions / research / reputable sources / statistics / graphs (these are some logical techniques)
    2. FEEL SOMETHING = PATHOS = an emotional response = the author uses techniques like appeals to emotion / attacks or praises / emotive language / figurative language such as idioms, cliches, alliteration, hyperbole, connotations, loaded words / inclusive language / rhetorical questions / appeals to family values (these are some emotional techniques)
    3. DO SOMETHING = ETHOS = an ethical appeal to act responsibly = the author wants the readers to actively lobby governments to act / call to action

Analysing Argument What You Need to Identify in the Articles & Visuals

  1. Identify and Annotate the Main Contention & Arguments
  2. Identify the Language and Techniques used to Persuade
  3. Identify the Intention of what the author wants the audience to Think/Feel/Do Something
  4. Identify the Audience & Tone
  5. Identify the Link between the Visual and Written Piece

Analysing Argument How to Identify Tone in Articles & Visuals

Tone refers to the mood or feeling of the language used by the writer conveying their attitude towards an issue, argument, individual or group.  In an article tone is created by word choices which have 3 main tones:

  1. Positive = reactive / amazed / astonished / quiet / calm / composed / thoughtful / approving / hopeful / caring / compassionate / sympathetic / lively / cheerful / enthusiastic
  2. Neutral = formal / authoritative / balanced / blunt / factual / frank / honest / serious
  3. Negative = passive / apathetic / dejected / apologetic / judgmental / pessimistic / uncontrolled / agitated / alarmed / fearful / forceful / accusing / angry / condemnatory / sarcastic / hateful

Presenting Argument Scope of Task : Oral Presentation

Unit 4 Outcome #2 Presenting Argument students will deliver a 5 minute individual Oral Presentation conveying a sustained and logical line of argument in response to a topic from the media worth 30 marks. 

Students should also write a Statement of Intention to articulate the purpose and intention of decisions made in the planning of the Oral which is worth 10 marks.  The SOI format should follow F/L/A/P/C = Form/Language/Audience/Purpose/Context.  The word count is determined by each school but is normally between 300-500 words.  See my Post on SOI requirement for years 11 & 12 for the full details on the FLAPC format.


Students must deliver a 5 minute Oral Presentation demonstrating:

  • An ability to present a sustained and logical argument supported by a range of evidence from a variety of sources
  • An understanding of the power of language to persuade
  • An ability to address and convey the complexity of your chosen issue
  • An awareness of and ability to engage an audience
  • Submit a transcript of your speech and complete a bibliography
  • Produce a Written Statement of Intention articulating the intention of decisions made in the planning process of the oral presentation and how these demonstrate understanding of argument and persuasive language
  • The SAC will be worth a total of 40 marks = 30 marks for the oral + 10 marks for the SOI

 A few tips on writing your speech:

  • Have a CAPTIVATING introduction sentence; use a short, clear and powerful sentence. You can even ask a rhetorical question of your audience to make them think right at the start.
  • Make sure your MAIN CONTENTION is clearly spelled out at the start.  If you are vague about what you are trying to argue then the listeners (the Teachers marking the Oral) will not know what your Oral is about and will mark you down.
  • RELATE to your audience so that it keeps them interested so they actually WANT to listen.
  • If you are taking on a persona, firstly study and UNDERSTAND your character. (A persona is how you present your speech, ie. in a friendly voice, a business type strictly formal speech or using lots of colloquial phrases).
  • Don’t forget your persuasive techniques. Use repetition and rhetorical questions, emotive language and inclusive language.
  • Remember that you are delivering a SPEECH, not an essay. Instill your oral with emotion, varied tone and sentence lengths.

A few tips on your performance:

Memorise your speech

Practice as much as possible; in front of anyone and everyone including yourself (use a mirror).  Keep practicing until you can recite it.  Use your timer on your mobile phone to make sure you keep within the 5 minutes. As for cue cards, use dot points.  Remember to number the cue cards for safety so if you get nervous during the Oral and unfortunately drop them, at least you can pick up the cards and put them back in the right order.

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