Chapter 32. DIALOGIC/DIALECTIC
in this chapter.
This introductory page of the
"Dialogic/Dialectic" chapter offers a simple, brief summary. For more, go to "Basics" and
to "Sample Papers"
by students. If
you understand this type of paper already or want to explore it in more depth, you might prefer to read "Advanced
Methods." All five web pages of this chapter are listed in the
right-hand column--simply click on the page you want to see.
A dialogic or dialectic paper is
a multiple-arguments paper on a single, usually controversial
issue. It is similar to a three- or four-way oral debate among opposing
experts or political candidates as they argue about a single important issue.
A typical dialogic paper often may present or imply three viewpoints: two of
them completely opposing each other, and the third either opposing the first two
or representing a compromise or higher point of view.
A dialogic paper usually does not take a single
stand on an issue; rather, it attempts to represent all sides equally, even if
the author happens to believe more in one side than another. Sometimes a
dialogic paper will offer the author's own opinion in the very end, in the
conclusion, but otherwise such a paper usually is fair, balanced, logical,
rational, and equal in its treatment of all sides it represents. A
dialogic paper is like a thesis paper in that it shows an argument, but rather
than just one argument, the dialogic paper shows several: in a way, it is like
combining three thesis papers together, one after the other. A dialogic
paper also is like a conversation among several people who disagree on a
subject; however, the dialogic paper presents each point of view fully before
continuing on to represent the next point of view.
Examples of dialogic papers include debates among
several people when each debater presents his or her point of view fully and
without interruption, and research papers that show separate and opposing
arguments on a controversial subject.
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The goal of writing a dialogic or dialectic paper
usually is to complete an
academic assignment asking you to show a debate or argument among two to three opposing
viewpoints. To do so, you should write using a dialogic structure (two
arguments opposing each other and, if requested, a third opposing argument,
compromise, or higher point of view) using three or four body sections. Start
your paper with an introduction that briefly and clearly offering your two
or three opposing viewpoints briefly and clearly. (If your
instructor allows or requests it, you also may have a very brief first
section, after the introduction, that reports on the issue's history or
background.) Then devote the great majority of your discussion to the body
section, in which you develop strong, clear supports for each position.
Your supports should be details from from experts and/or, if you are writing
from personal experience, your own personal-experience examples. In your
introduction and conclusion, clearly indicate the type of paper you are writing
and the two or three opposing arguments you are discussing.
If you are writing a research paper, each body
section must include quotations, paraphrases, and/or illustrations and other
visual materials from your required and optional sources. These source
materials should support your own points of discussion in your paper, should be
substantial in quality and quantity, and should come from authoritative sources.
Also attach a bibliography appropriate to your field, discipline, or profession.
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Here is a typical structure or organization for an
development of this structure is shown in the "Basics"
Organization of a Dialogic/Dialectic Paper
MAIN SUBJECT, 3-4 opposing arguments, & introductory details
Body Section 1:
argument and supporting details
Body Section 2:
Its opposing argument and supporting details
Body Section 3:
A compromise or higher position and supporting details
(Optional Body Section 4: another
compromise or higher position and supporting details)
and concluding details
Jones, A.J. Book One, et al.
Smith, B.K. Book Two, et al.
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A "focus" in writing helps you at any given moment
to concentrate on writing. Here are several helpful, important focuses
people use to develop a ______
[Below, substitute the proper info for the type of paper for
the stuff on analyses as given here:]
If helpful, brainstorm a list of subjects. Choose one
carefully. Will it appeal to you throughout your writing time?
Do you have enough details or examples to support what you are
saying, or can you find them
easily? Can you write about your subject fully and logically? What is
the problem and what are the several solutions your paper will represent? Will your
audience find your paper and its solutions reasonable, appropriate, and
interesting? (If you wish to represent only one side of an
argument, see "Thesis Essay.")
& SECOND DRAFTS:
Start with one or two methods that work best for you, but develop the
others in later drafts.
Free-write: write as much as you can quickly on what
you know or have collected about your subject or its parts.
Gather details: write descriptions or a list of the
proofs you have for your opinions--facts, quotations, and/or
Write for your audience: visualize it. What beliefs or
arguments is it willing to consider, and in what style and tone?
Organize: make an outline using the
above or whatever structure your instructor suggests.
if required, mix
your paper with the above methods to develop a first draft before, during,
or after your
TONE, and WRITER'S ROLE: Develop (in early or late drafts) an academic
style and tone of calm, reasoned, fair, balanced logic. Relay each
viewpoint calmly and rationally by using such phrases as "Some people
believe...." Do not take sides, emotionally or logically (until
possibly the conclusion).
AUTHENTICITY: Be as real and meaningful as you can to your
audience, your content, and yourself. First, respect your audience:
try as fully as you can to answer its questions using a pattern and style it
expects. Second, find the heart of the meaning in each of your three
arguments and write about them with as much balance and fullness as
possible. Third, make the subject your own: explore the differing
points of view to discover what they mean at their deepest.
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