Developing a Credible Argument
A Strategy is achieved through Tactics
When presenting an argument, a writer must develop an organized plan to persuade the reader
The tactics we use are called Rhetorical Appeals
Appeals are communicated in and through the writing strategies we use to develop an
Emotional Appeals focus on the reader’s values and needs.
Example: A happy story told by a pleased customer or a sad story told by an earthquake victim
is a testimonial. Its job is to tap into the feelings of the audience.
Logical Appeals focus on the reader’s sense of reason.
Example: A mathematical equation or a statistic appears scientific. Its job is to tap into the
reader’s sense of authority.
Ethical Appeals establish the writer’s credibility and present the writer as reliable or ethical.
Example: A writer who names experts in a research paper appears more credible. Calling on the
expertise of reliable sources appeals to the reader’s sense of good character.
Presenting alternative points of view on an issue appeals to a reader’s sense of fairness.
Ethos as Character
• Situated Ethos: the way others view our character
– Education, career, social position, culture, professional aﬃliations
• Invented Ethos: the way we want others to view our character
– the things we do consciously to be perceived by others as credible
Factors for a credible ethos
What academic writers do to design a credible Ethos
1. Make strategic use of logical, ethical, and emotional appeals in their work
2. Clearly state the Purpose of the work via a Thesis
3. Provide support for claims with evidence
4. Engage other expert voices and points of view in their work & acknowledge the relevance of
5. Explain ideas using Audience appropriate language and eﬀective organizational writing