The statement is a text in which you have to take a position on a certain topic and underpin your opinion with various arguments. Since you have to write a statement not only in high school, but also in many later life situations such as a car accident, at work or in a legal dispute, here are some tips on how best to take a stand. You will know about writing a statement.
When writing a statement, the main thing is that you inform another party of your point of view or your position on a certain topic. On the other hand, it is also the goal to convince your counterpart of your point of view. It is therefore important that you argue as clearly and logically as possible and make it clear to your counterpart or the reader why your opinion is the better. The statement can also be in several forms, such as a letter to the editor, a comment, a complaint or a request.
Building an opinion
Table of Contents
- Building an opinion
- Write an introduction to the opinion
- Write the main part of the opinion
- Write the final part of the statement
Before writing, you should first make it clear in which context your statement should appear and which addressees you have. Should this go to one person or are several parties involved? Say, for example, an expert or lawyer reads your statement or is the statement important to a large readership, like a letter to the editor about an article?
The second step in preparation is all about getting your point of view clear. Think carefully and develop your opinion in the form of a thesis that you want to and can represent.
Then you should make a collection of materials and collect ideas. If you have a piece of text like a newspaper article, you should read it well. A detailed discussion of the topic is also important for other topics. At this point, for example, you could already collect your first thoughts on your arguments, which you then later work out in detail in the main part of the statement and build on each other according to strength and logic. As a guideline, you should have at least three arguments that you can refer to.
- Have I read and understood the text often enough?
- Is my main thesis clear to me?
- Have I collected at least three arguments?
- Have I structured the text and made notes about it?
Write an introduction to the opinion
In the introductory part of the opinion what happens in most formal and informal texts happens. First, describe your concern with an introductory sentence. The opening sentence usually answers the classic W questions. Who wrote the text? When was the text written? What exactly is the subject of the text? Where was the article published? What is the title of the text? What kind of text is there? In addition, at the beginning of the text you state that you would like to take a position on a certain part of the text or facts and outline your argumentation structure and your opinion on the thesis. In short, you address who is taking a stand on what topic and why. In the next step you clarify your thesis,
- Have I answered all of the questions?
- Have I already gone into my thesis?
- Have I made it clear what I am taking a stand on?
- I have clearly worked out my thesis.
Write the main part of the opinion
The main part is the heart of your opinion. Here you write your arguments in detail and thus represent your thesis. As you write, make sure that you start with the weakest argument and then work your way up to the strongest argument. As a guideline for the length of a text, three arguments usually represent a good amount. Of course, you can also write more or less, but then there is the risk that your argumentation will either appear too thin or too small or that you will overwhelm the reader with your opinion. Three clearly structured and understandable arguments are usually sufficient. In order to organize the arguments and to see through them better, here is an overview of different types of arguments.
As the name suggests, you are citing incontrovertible facts to support your argument. This form of argument is a particularly strong way of expressing your opinion and could be at the end of the statement. The factual argument is so strong because it cannot be refuted, since an irrefutable fact is used to support the argument.
Example: You need more energy to climb the Eiffel Tower than to climb the Cologne Cathedral, because the Eiffel Tower is almost twice as high.
The authoritarian argument is not as strong as the factual argument, but it can still be very convincing. Here you can use the trick of backing up your argument with the testimony of a certain recognized authority. The more recognized or prestigious the reference, the stronger the argument appears. However, you should make sure that the authority you have consulted is also recognized as an authority by the recipients of your opinion.
Example: According to the consumer advice center, certain craft businesses are not recommended.
The indirect argument can be a very clever trick of yours to override an argument of the other side. Because that’s exactly what you’re doing here. You take up part of the argument or the text and refute it with your own argument. This can make your argument relatively powerful.
Example: Many educators claim that comics destroy the ability to read a text. But the fact is that, according to many scientists, comics often make learning easier.
This argument is also of a relatively strong variety, as you are using normative ideas to support your argument. Here, too, similar to the authoritarian argument, the effectiveness of such an argument also depends on the recipient recognizing the cited norm as such.
Example: Respecting the freedom of the press is one of the basic values of a free and enlightened society.
This form of argument is also relatively strong, but is not based on facts, so you have to be careful how you phrase it here. The basic idea is that you underpin your argument with an explanation that appears plausible and logical to the other person or the reader of the statement.
Example: I always start my working day with demanding tasks, because I am much fitter and more productive in the morning than after five hours of work.
The different types of arguments give you an overview of how you can build arguments and, above all, sort them by strength. At the end, of course, there should always be a factual argument if possible. It is also best if you almost exclusively collect factual arguments.
- Have I adequately substantiated and supported the arguments?
- Have I built up the arguments according to strength and logically?
- Have I saved the strongest argument for last?
- Is my strongest argument a factual argument?
Write the final part of the statement
At the end of the text, the entire statement is briefly summarized again. So you go back to the initial thesis and touch on one or the other argument. Last but not least, you now write suggestions on how a solution to a problem could look or how you would approach the matter differently.