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3.1.1: Section Introduction- Research and Argumentation

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    Section Introduction- Research and Argumentation

    "Fake news" 86 is a phrase you've encountered way more than you would have liked since the 2016 U.S. presidential election. While this phrase has gained more and more momentum and traction, it holds different purposes and meanings in different contexts. Across all these different rhetorical situations, though, we can agree that the popularization of the phrase speaks to an increased skepticism toward the bodies of knowledge that surround us.

    For me, such distrust points to the oversimplified dichotomy of fact vs. opinion. The gray area between fact and opinion is much broader than we like to believe, and often we present deeply entrenched opinions as if they were facts. (Whether or not it is intentional, this phenomenon has serious consequences.) As Michael Kinsley points out in his 1995 essay, American individualist ideology dictates that citizens be "omni-opinionated" - at the expense of having many poorly informed opinions.87 It is crucial, Kinsley says, that we take two steps to confront the "intellectual free lunch": 88

    a) Develop increased humility about what we can and do know to be true; and

    b) Increase the intensity and frequency of our critical interrogation of truth (or what seems to be true).

    Because yes, there is a lot of fake news out there. And there's a lot of real news that certain people insist is fake. How do we mobilize skepticism to produce a more ethical world, rather than letting it undermine the pursuit of truth?

    In Section 1 of this text, you explored your own truth through personal narrative; in Section 2, you interrogated the truths embedded in a certain text. Here, in Section 3, you will learn how to encounter a body of texts, then develop an argument that synthesizes diverse truths. Writing in a research-based context means exploring and interrogating the broad, complex networks of rhetoric and knowledges that you have always been a part of. It means situating yourself in an interconnected world of discourse, and carefully bringing your own voice into that world.

    To induct you into this mode of rhetoric production, this section focuses on research concepts and techniques, as well as traditional methods of argumentation. Section 3 concludes with a persuasive research essay assignment win which you will synthesize your ability to research, interpret, and argue in a formal writing situation.

    This page titled 3.1.1: Section Introduction- Research and Argumentation is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Shane Abrams (PDXOpen publishing initiative) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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