Class 10: MON FEB 24



Ransom General


Ransom Specific

  • Reply below how this comparison of two Ransom Notes helps you understand the value of very specific claims and illustrative language.

Specific Claims Demo

To reinforce the superiority of making specific and arguable claims over broad language summaries that merely sketch the outlines of the content of a message, follow the link to a comparison of good and bad versions of White Paper descriptions of “Essential Content” and “How I Will Use It” entries.

The Lasik Claims

A step-by-step examination of several claim types and their relative value in making arguments to specific audiences, using a young woman’s desire for lasik surgery as the subject matter.

The arguments Amanda makes to her parents may persuade them to pay for her lasik surgery, but they would certainly not convince her insurance provider to do so. What claims could she make to the insurer to persuade them to cover her costs?

  • Reply below how Amanda’s argument is shaped by her audience.


50 Responses to Class 10: MON FEB 24

  1. rose1029 says:

    In the first ransom note, the suspect is being very elusive about what he wants and the instructions he is giving Mrs. Robinson. He is not brief in his claims, rather he almost sounds nice and caring about the situation. In the second note, the suspect is short and brief about what is going to happen and what he wants Mrs. Robinson to do. He is precise about describing the consequences that will come if she does not comply. It has a more threatening tone and even comes with evidence that the suspect(s) truly do have him in custody.

    • davidbdale says:

      Precise in his descriptions is exactly what we’re going for, Rose. And brief. If we can express ourselves clearly and briefly, we can fit more ideas into 3000 words.

      I have taken note of your additional entries further down the page.


  2. omgmafia says:

    After reading the ransom note, I can tell the difference between a normal summary and a purposeful summary. In a purposeful summary, it is more clear of what the author is conveying and you know exactly where their idea is heading instead of trying to analyze and interpret every sentence as if it were a normal summary.
    In an argument, you will not be using the same arguments for all five audiences. When you are trying to create an argument, hypothesis, or thesis statement, you need to make sure that you recognize who your audience is, and you are trying to persuade the audience who has not picked a side yet. You would be clarifying their opinion or their thinking or give them a new perspective.

    • davidbdale says:

      Good notes, Mafia. You’re right about the clarity and specificity of claims in a Purposeful Summary. And regarding arguments, you’re correct that we’ll choose those most appropriate for persuading our audience based on our knowledge of what they need to hear.

  3. j6128 says:

    What happened:
    Riddle: the vague and ineffective ransom note
    Specific claims demo
    The Laisk Claims
    What I learned:
    Ransom notes are arguments
    Ransom notes need to have specific claims
    Logos, Ethos and Pathos are essential for creating a good argument
    Don’t tell the reader what they talked about
    We want to know what value the information has, the claims and author has made and the results
    Don’t tell the reader about the topic- it’s not the point
    Don’t summarize but do specify
    Your research paper can not appeal to everyone
    You must first visual the person your trying to convince when crafting your argument
    Research paper should help reader gain a new perspective on life and clarify their thinking
    Not all claims need to be proved
    Thesis is your first claim
    Claims are assertions open to challenge
    Thesis can be a new way of phrasing a question to your readers- innovate thesis can change reader’s perspective

    • j6128 says:

      The comparison of the two ransom notes highlights the fact that it is essential for the writer to make spefific claims in order for the intended audience to understand and make their own judgment.

      • j6128 says:

        Consequential claim: insurance companies should pay for lasik surgery because they also cover for her eye exams and glasses persecrptions

        • davidbdale says:

          Fine notes overall, J. Thank you for responding both to the Ransom Note and to the Lasik argument. I think you’re right that the argument that will persuade the Insurance company is the opportunity to pay once for lasik instead of every year for glasses, exams, contacts, etc.

  4. alyse816 says:

    A ransom note is basically just an argument
    All good arguments include ethos, logos, and pathos
    We should eliminate what the author “talks about,” instead translate the meaning and actually describe it the claim and conclude it
    Do summarize,but try to write about about it in terms of your hypothesis and go into more detail
    Make sure you are writing to your audience, and to the person you are trying to convince, instead of the people who are already on your side
    Your audience should be someone that can be persuaded and is open to being persuaded, not someone that already has a closed opinion towards the topic

  5. samtheman1448 says:

    In the first ransom note, the note is not very clear on what the suspect wants exactly. The claims are brief and almost kind in a way. In the second ransom note, the note is very clear with its instructions and its claims.
    After the ransom note, Professor went over Specific Claims and explained that you should not use words like “talks about,” or “deals with” when talking about your sources in your paper.
    Professor then explained to me that when writing a paper, your audience is the people who do not have a side or an opinion on the topic. Professor explained that it is hard to change someone’s opinion on a topic so you should try and persuade the people that are neutral.

    • davidbdale says:

      Those already persuaded of your argument may still benefit from reading your innovative proof, but the only audience worth trying to persuade are those not yet decided who are open to persuasion.

  6. nayr79 says:

    Today’s class started with a bad ransom note. The abductors of Mr. Robinson were bad at doing their job as abductors and made claims in indistinct ways. The note could be taken as a business note or a worried friend or relative. The second note following the poorly written note was much better. It really hit home the idea of Mr. Robinson being kidnapped and held for ransom. The idea of a claim or summary should be clear in what the author is saying. Weaving around the details and leaving an unclear meaning could confuse readers or make your writing pointless. Saying “there is a flaw in the justice system that will be proven in the article” is much different than saying “the terms and conditions of what is considered a victory in the justice system is flawed in the sense that the court and law see sending anybody, innocent or guilty, to jail is a victory since the crime has been solved.” Audience is an important factor when writing your paper in terms of claims. Claims that are normally seen as fact to a certain audience do not have to be proven in the paper. A general audience does need to gravity to be proven to them in your paper. Gravity is generally perceived as something that exists. However, referring to the Earth as a globe could stir up the tempers of Flat-Earthers, since the Earth being round could not be widely perceived as fact if your topic caters to people who happen to be Flat-Earthers.

    • davidbdale says:

      I like the specificity of your Notes, Nayr, and the clarity of “sending anybody, innocent or guilty, to jail is a victory since the crime has been solved.”
      Together with your Lasik arguments below:

  7. killerbeanforever says:

    today in class we discussed a ransom note. we talked about arguing and making a change in a situation like a class that is very popular and and takes place in a auditorium has a cap of 22 kids even though there are 40 more open seats and has 30 waitlisted kids. We also talked about amanda’s argument on getting lasik surgery. her mother is worried that it could be harmful so she needs to convince her that its safe and successful.

  8. shaquilleoatmeal2250 says:

    – The first note isn’t very effective in explaining the claim and making there intentions known
    – The second notes claim is known right off the bat and is understood
    – Point of these ransom notes is to learn exactly what is a good claim vs a bad and ineffective claim

    – Don’t summarize your sources as “talk about” material, but rather explain the claims in depth and what the author is saying in the articles
    – Don’t say the sources will help you depict your hypothesis and determine whether it is valid or not
    – Don’t talk about broad topics and say they are necessary to prove your hypothesis because there’s no claim as the task presented needs
    – Do provide examples and explain the article to where the reader understands what your writing about and where your intending to go with each source

    – Your thesis is your first claim, then followed by smaller claims – Toulmin
    – Not all claims have to proved; Ex: If your say gravity exist your don’t need to prove it for all readers to believe you
    – Many different ways to use claims to solve a situation or achieve a hypothesis
    – Different claims should be used in cases of different audiences

  9. a1175 says:

    -ransom notes are proposal arguments because they are suggesting to you what you should do if you want to see someone again
    -the first ransom note should be more straight to the point
    -the second ransom note shows more claims that make the ransom note seem like an actual ransom note
    -the second note is more demanding rather the first note was more of suggestions
    -for the proposal use words such as “focuses on” and “the article states”
    -you need to know your audience so you can make a persuasive argument
    -the audience is mostly going to be people who haven’t picked a side yet that want to be convinced of something
    -goal is to find something difficult that doesn’t seem like it could be proved and then prove it
    -Amanda’s casual claim to the insurance company:

    • a1175 says:

      -Amanda’s casual claim to the insurance company:
      Amanda could tell the insurance company that glasses are holding her back from her full potential for her future job. I feel like if the insurance company knew that the lasik surgery could benefit her with a job, they would be more understanding with the idea of paying for the surgery.
      -the way Amanda says her argument will depend on her audience because she can relate things to real experiences more with her parents than with the insurance company for example, since they didn’t live the experiences that Amanda is talking about
      -if she were talking to the insurance company, I feel like she would need to talk in more of a business form because the insurance company isn’t just going to hand out money left and right

      • davidbdale says:

        Very good class Notes, A. And while I disagree that the insurance company would pay Amanda’s claim out of admiration for her career plans, I do respect the argument you’ve made.

  10. sixers103 says:

    Professor started off class with an example of ransom notes that asses the topic of specific claims. Logos, Pathos, and Ethos are the three main argument claims but even though they are a specific type of claim theres always someone who could debate it with you. Eliminating the “talk about” will allow for you to expand your claims to a more informational and clearer point of view on your claim. The purposeful summary way is so much more better to use as in making your claim much more out there and more understandable for the audience to grasp.

  11. alyse816 says:

    The comparison of 2 ransom notes helps understand the value of very specific claims because when you are trying to depict the message being displayed in a ransom note, it can be somewhat tricky. In a more specific claim you can tell exactly what the author is saying and can identify the kind of claims being said.

  12. rose1029 says:

    Amanda’s Argument to the Insurance Company
    Proposal: Amanda’s current vision causes daily issues and keeps her from doing the necessary things she needs/wants to do in order to make her life fulfilling. If she were to get the surgery done, her quality of life would increase significantly.

  13. nayr79 says:

    If Amanda is changing the audience to her insurance company, she could say Lasik is a procedure that can positively affect the health of her eyes and her eyesight in the long-run. I think the specifics here could help when discussing with the insurance company. That would be a categorical claim. A proposal claim could say Lasik could improve her life the same way a heart transplant would improve the life of one with a bad heart. That comparison could make it seem like a need. People don’t normally WANT a heart transplant but rather NEED one.

    • davidbdale says:

      I’m not convinced the Insurance company would cover the cost of an eye surgery for a condition that glasses could cure, but I respect the clarity and specificity of your argument, Nayr.

  14. stripedsweater21 says:

    We looked at a ransom note, which was not specific in its claims. We then analyzed parts of that note and worded the claims to be more effective. We then looked at the same ransom note with more specific and effective claims. The difference is the situation of the husband; the first one sounds like it’s a wild accusation by a young teenager who doesn’t have evidence to back up his claim. The second ransom gets straight to the point, is effective in wording and persuasiveness, and is specific in what the claim is.
    When choosing an audience for our writing, we must visualize who we are trying to convince. Those people who don’t have a side in the argument, persuadable and who might pay attention to your argument.
    Amanda’s argument is shaped in a way where people may sympathize with her; it seems clear that her target audience is those around her age or her situation. She makes claims that the surgery is safe and effective when opposing the argument that the surgery has safety risks.

  15. walmaarts says:

    Ransom Notes

    – We looked at ransom notes.
    – We saw how important specific claims are. For example, in the first ransom note, the word hostage isn’t used. This can make the reader feel obligated to comply with the message.
    – When the word “hostage” is used the claims become more serious within turn would make some comply with the people making the note.

    Amanda’s arguments

    – Amanda would use two different arguments when addressing her parents and the insurance company.
    – For example, when talking to her parents she explains how safe the procedure and how she is a good candidate for it but, when talking to an insurance company she would use a different claim.
    – Amanda might say something like “If I get Lasik surgery I could be safer on the road at night because of my vision”. Insurance companies might then give Amanda the money to get the surgery so the company later down the road doesn’t have to fund a theoretical car accident.
    – In conclusion, when talking to her parents Amanda talks about how this surgery can benefit her but, when talking to the insurance company she must talk about how this surgery can benefit them.

    • davidbdale says:

      Not the argument I would use with the insurance company, but it’s a perfectly reasonable one, and it demonstrates that you understand the principle of appealing to the needs of the audience.

  16. dupreeh79 says:

    Consequential Claim- Covering the cost of Lasik surgery would encourage other people to use this insurance company.

  17. bmdpiano says:

    Lasik Surgery Insurance Company Argument:

    Resemblance –
    – Lasik surgery is not cosmetic since it is to improve eye health, so the surgery should be covered.
    – Lasik surgery is like having back surgery. They are both needed to function in life and the results will improve the ease and quality of life.

  18. Cleo says:

    – claims completely change the perspective of the writing.
    -edited riddle includes ethos and pathos to appeal to the wife about her husband’s abduction.
    -essential to target the right audience depending on your hypothesis.
    -saying “talks about” when summarizing does not help the reader understand your source
    -depending on the type of claim it may need to be proved.
    -it is important to know the kind of claims you are making since it may need evidence.
    -speaking to the insurance company would require a different argument than with her parents.
    -insurance company would require more factual evidence rather than appealing to their emotions.
    -Amanda needs to convince her insurance company it is much more than a cosmetic surgery where she is trying to get rid of her glasses. She can convince her insurance company by proving how effective this surgery would be for her lifestyle rather than glasses.

  19. bmdpiano says:


    – Comparing the two ransom notes, the second one makes many more clear claims. The clear claims allow the message to be transferred quickly and sound convincing.
    – Involves ethos, pathos, logos
    – The note with the vague language compared to the specific language demonstrates how just changing a few words to explain a claim can be more convincing than a spewing words out. Just state was is happening, do not walk a lap around what you really want to say.

    Specific Claims Demo:
    – The background of the proposals should be as specific as possible.
    – If the language is vague, it says nothing about what the article is about. It will show nothing about how its is contributing to the hypothesis.

    The Lasik Claims:
    – Arguments are crafted to the person or people you’re talking to.
    – The same way to argue a point to your parents, friend or your sibling would involve three different types of language or structures.
    – The audience are people who do not have a side to the topic yet. They are persuadable and they can recognize the importance to the argument. (The audience is NOT someone already on your side or someone who is NEVER going to be convinced of your side)

  20. shaquilleoatmeal2250 says:

    Categorical Claims: Amanda fits perfectly in with the candidates in need of surgery by doctors opinion. She may also stay with the insurance company much longer if they were willing to rather than if they were not willing to pay.

    Proposal Claims: Getting the surgery done will prevent Amanda from possibly getting into other situation that may need insurance coverage when they could have been prevented from having Lasik surgery and being able to see better. Therefore it would be smart for insurance to cover the surgery to save money in long run.

  21. harp03 says:

    Class Notes 02/24/2020

    The comparison of the two ransom notes helps me understand the specific value of claims and illustrative language because the first one was very broad and referenced many “topics”, while the second (and better) example explained exactly what happened and used specific claims.

    Amanda’s Insurance Argument:
    Consequential Claim = Not paying to have Amanda receive Lasik surgery could cause injury while driving, climbing, etc and force the insurance company to pay a ton in hospital bills and/or life insurances. Also, if their insurance plan pays for contacts and glasses (as well as any repairs), them paying in full for the surgery would be cheaper in the long term.

    Specific Claims:
    -Eliminate “Talks about”
    -Synthesize information and create new meaning
    -Let the reader know what the author CLAIMED, so you must know what the results were
    -Do not just name topics, discuss/analyze/explain them

    -“talks about”
    -“deals with”
    -“provides background”
    -will give me necessary information”
    Instead, explain what happened in the article and specific ways in which it is useful to your research (should discuss evidence/info that pertains to, or helps to prove, your hypothesis)

    Argument needs to have a specific audience, because different language, information, etc appeals to different audiences
    -Example: if you want to change the way something is run, you need to appeal to the decision-maker (so in the case of my paper, I must appeal to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred)
    -Audience should also be someone who recognizes the importance of the argument you are making, as well as someone who has not yet chosen a side on the topic

    3 Types of Argument Models:
    -Aristotelian = ethos, pathos, logos claims
    -Toulmin = backs his claims after supporting his claims with grounds
    -Rogers = concentrated on finding areas of common ground/solving shared problems (examined differences and recommended solutions)

    -Find something controversial!
    -Not all claims need to be proved (e.g. claiming gravity exists)
    -Should be open to challenge
    -Paper should be calm (not a heated discussion)

  22. taxmanmaxwell says:

    In the vague ransom note the author is not getting their point across to their audience. It would be much easier for the reader to understand their argument if they were direct. This example is important for showing us that we need to avoid being nebulous so that we can be properly understood. In order for us to get our point across to our audience we need to ensure we speak clearly and concisely.

    For Amanda’s Lasik claim to her insurance company she will want to appeal to their avarice by indicating that they will save money by paying for her surgery. She could use consequential claims suggesting that glasses will cause the insurance company to expend more money in the long term.

    • taxmanmaxwell says:

      Today in class we discussed the problems inherent in a vague ransom note. Instead of making nebulous suggestions, we were told to make specific claims. We don’t want to “talk about” or summarize a topic we want to make detailed comments and use evidence when possible. Our arguments should be written for our audience. The people that have the most to gain from our arguments are prime candidates for an audience. The argument should also be directed at those who are undecided on the subject. People who have already made up their mind are going to be more difficult to sway.
      We then went over the differences between arguments using the Aristotle, Toulmin, and Rogerian methods. Aristotle appealed to reason (logos), emotions (pathos), and sense of ethics and morality (ethos). Toulmin made claims supported with evidence and based his arguments on the values. Rogers concentrated on finding common ground in an argument. For people that support and oppose abortion Rogers would point to them both wanting to solve unwanted pregnancy.

  23. gossipgirl3801 says:

    2/24/20- Today in class we started off with reading a ransom note that didn’t get to the claim and tried to change it to identify a clear claim. The more effective ransom note shows how being specific betters your readers understanding on your topic and seeing the noneffective one really put that into perspective how it wasn’t clear enough to me what the writer was trying to say. We then moved onto our claims and proposal and how we need to help the reader understand the value of our source when writing a summary of each 5 source. We must state the essential content of the article and what it proves, doing so properly with the tips professor left us in The Specific Claims Demo. Language matters in summarizing your sources and how the readers perceive your ideas. After that Professor introduced the Lasik Claims, a story we dug into to broaden our understanding of how you change your language depending on your audience or who you want to appeal to. Your audience should be people who are open to suggestion and don’t yet have a side on your topic, it should not be someone that agrees with you(unless it’s a new way of phrasing the problem that is innovative) and someone that doesn’t agree with you. Your goal for a thesis is finding something controversial and hard to prove. Our papers should be the calm voice in the room. In Amanda’s Lasik argument, her argument to her parents will really differ from the one she must make to her insurance company. As an evaluation argument she could say to her insurance company that the cost of her glasses and contacts are too high for her to pay yearly and that Lasik would end up being cheaper and more effective for her in the long run.

    • davidbdale says:

      And if she phrases that argument not as a savings to Amanda but as a cost savings to the Insurance company, they may very well be persuaded. Good notes overall, GossipGirl.

  24. rose1029 says:

    Class Notes 2/24/20
    What happened:
    – We analyzed two ransom notes and compared them to each other.
    – Went over our Proposal+5 assignment
    – Shaping different versions of your argument for different groups of people
    – Defined the different types of claims there are and looked through an example
    – Small exercise involving claims
    I learned that…
    – Depending on how you say things in your writing, could change the way the reader takes in the information
    – Being brief can help better get the point across and in a more efficient manner compared to being overly detailed and mulling over the information you’re trying to get out of your writing.
    – What the author talked about and what the author claimed are two separate things
    – What exactly to cover when writing the Proposal+5 assignment
    – Don’t talk about what your sources “deal with” and how it will give support to your writing rather, discuss the essential content of the article and what exactly does it proves while summarizing it.
    – In order to get what you want, you must shape your argument in different ways in order to target certain groups of people (i.e. you would use different argument techniques in order to convince your insurance company of something compared to your parents)
    – Choosing a certain claim that you can use that will make the person you’re arguing with aback by the strength of it will be very beneficial in what you’re trying to get across to them.
    – People who don’t have a side – who are available and open to changing their mind
    – Types of claims: Categorial, Definitional, Consequential, Resemblance, Evaluation, and Proposal
    – By using these types of claims, it can help create a stronger argument as well as help to target different groups you are trying to persuade.

  25. tenere84 says:

    Notes 2/24

    Riddle: Vague and Ineffective vs Specific and Highly Effective
    – A vague ransom note will likely not convey the intended message effectively, having some unintentionally catastrophic consequences.
    – Arguments and essays, in an analogous way, will likely fail at getting the point across, effectively wasting the reader’s time and having little to no impact on them at all.
    – The priority in sending an effective message is being clear and brief.

    Specific Claims
    – Our main goal in describing the material we encounter in reading, or in lectures, or in studying any subject matter, is to synthesize the new information with what we already know and create new meaning.
    – When giving sources, simply naming topics or using “talks-about” language is completely non-productive to this goal. It teaches the reader next to nothing; they will understand neither the essential content of the source nor what it proves.
    – It’s a good idea to instead summarize the specific subject matter, present in your source, that is relevant to the needs of your particular hypothesis. It’s also a good idea to specify its usefulness and how you plan to use such a source in your research paper.
    – In other words, when naming your sources, summarize its essential content and specify how you plan to use it.

    The Lasik Claims

    Background: Models of Argument
    – Aristotle made appeals to his audience’s reason (logos), emotions (pathos), and sense of ethics, character, and authority (ethos), without ever calling anything a claim.
    – Toulmin made claims, supported them with grounds (evidence), based his arguments on warrants (the values on which the argument rests), which in turn rest on backing (not adequately explained).
    – Rogers concentrated on finding areas of common ground and solving shared problems. Afterwards, he examined differences of opinion or perhaps misunderstandings, compared recommended solutions and their limitations, then offered ways to resolve differences.

    Claims are Assertions Open to Challenge
    – All three argument models make claims, though only Toulmin uses the term.
    – All arguments are assertions open to challenge.
    – Not all claims need to be proved.
    – Unstated claims often go by unnoticed and require no proof.
    – Claims to which no readers would be likely to object can be safely made without proof.
    – Claims that would be readily accepted by your intended audience require no proof.

    Your Paper is the Calm Voice in the Room
    – Your paper is like the calm voice in a heated argument filled with hot takes and little communication; it recognizes the futility of arguing without making and defending clear claims.
    – Your paper will apply the concept of Claim Types to get the argument focused.

    Claim Types

    Categorical Claims – claims that something belongs to a category or group.
    – X is a Y.
    – Lasik belongs to the category effective surgeries.

    Definitional Claims – claims that apply a definition to something.
    – Y is a…
    – Lasik is advanced technologically-proven laser surgery.

    Causal Claims – claims that one event is the cause of another.
    – X causes Y.
    – Glasses and contacts cause serious problems for divers.

    Resemblance Claims – claims that something resembles another thing.
    – X is like Y.
    – Lasik today resembles eyeglasses and contacts lenses of yesterday.

    Evaluation Claims – claims that evaluate evidence.
    – X is good/bad. X is a good Y.
    – Risks are minimal compared to proven results.

    Proposal Claims – claims that propose something or say what one ought to do.
    – We should do X.

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