Outcome: Logic and Structure

Evaluate use of logic and structure in texts

In previous writing classes you’ve taken, you’ve likely encountered certain patterns to help you construct essays, like the 5-paragraph essay or the 3-point thesis statement. You may have also noticed that very few things you read, either for class or in the “real world,” follow these formulas themselves. Those patterns serve as good scaffolds for learning to write, but more accomplished (and more widely-read) authors tend to move beyond these simple patterns.

That said, they still use some kind of pattern to help them write, and to help their audiences anticipate what will come next. As an active reader, you will need to first identify these patterns, and then evaluate how well these patterns fit with the purpose of the text. You have the power to critique how well-suited, or not, the author’s pattern matches with his purpose.

If focus is the foundation for constructing a piece of writing, organization is the the structural framework for that writing. Organization is important to effective writing because it provides readers with a framework to help them fulfill their expectations for the text. A well-organized piece of writing supports readers by making it easy for them to follow, while a poorly organized piece leads readers through a maze of confusion and confounded or unmet expectations.

Organization, simply put, is the logical progression and completeness of ideas in a text.

Fortune cookie slip reading "not false = true / not true = false"

In this section, we’ll look at logic as a science of reasoning that aids writers in being creative in the generation of ideas. What follows is a discussion of some of the uses of logic that writers employ in creating persuasive or argumentative essays.

A sound, well-reasoned, and compelling text is one of the most effective and persuasive communicative acts that human beings ever create.

What You Will Learn to Do

  • evaluate basic features of rhetorical modes (narrative, comparison, definition, etc.)
  • evaluate logical structures in argument
  • evaluate the impact of logical fallacies

The Learning Activities for This Outcome Include

  • Text: Rhetorical Modes
  • Text: Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
  • Text: Diagramming and Evaluating Arguments
  • Text: Logical Fallacies
  • Text: Evaluating Appeals to Ethos, Logos, and Pathos
  • Self Check: Logic and Structure
  • Try It: Logic and Structure