Chapter 2: What are the Issue and the Conclusion?
Before we evaluate someone’s reasoning , we must first find it.
To form a reasonable reaction, we must identify the issue and controversy, as well as the thesis
and conclusion. From there we can understand the intended message.
An issue is a question or controversy responsible for the conversation or discussion. It is the
stimulus for what is being said.
Those that raise questions about the accuracy of descriptions of the past, present, or future.
o Eg. Does/What/Is/How much/How good
They all require an answer attempting to describe the way the world was, is, or is going to be.
They are usually found in textbooks, magazines, the Internet, and TV
Reflect our curiosity
Require answers suggesting the way the world ought to be
o Eg. Should/What ought to be done/Must
These issues are ethical or oral; they raise questions about what is right or wrong, desirable or
undesirable, good or bad.
Searching for the Issue
The writer will either straight out tell you what the issue is, or it will be identified within the
body of text, usually right at the beginning, or even in the title.
Sometimes you need to question what the author is reacting to in order to understand the
The surest way to detect an issue is to look at the conclusion. In some cases, the conclusion
will be found before you can identify the conclusion
We cannot critically evaluate until the conclusion is found
Searching for the Conclusion
You will be searching for a statement or set of statements that the writer or speaker wants you
This refers to the conclusion; that refers to the support of the conclusion. [this because of that]
o Represents the process of interference
Conclusions are interred – they are derived from reasoning
o Ideas that require other ideas to support them
Unsupported claims = mere opinions