The Effect of Audience Type on Written Argumentation
MetadataShow full item record
Many students have difficulty constructing a quality written argument, especially when they must consider an audience. The difficulty may be that they do not possess an adequate schema for constructing an argument. In this study, we manipulated two conditions: audience type (friendly, hostile, mixed) and instructions (tutor, no tutor) in order to determine the effect they have on number of rebuttals, explanations, counters, reasons, adaptations, appeals, and pejoratives, We hypothesized that participants in the tutor condition will perform better than those in the no tutor condition at all levels of audience type. We also hypothesized that students with a hostile audience will perform better than those with a friendly audience regardless of tutor or no tutor, and that participants with a mixed audience will include a more even range of argument elements than will those with friendly or hostile audiences. Results indicated that the tutor had a main effect on number of reasons, responses, rebuttals, and. counters; participants given the tutor produced a significantly higher number ofthese argument elements. The only effect of audience found was with a mixed audience; participants with a mixed audience used significantly more second person pronouns than those with a friendly or hostile audience. An implication for education is that rather than using the classic method offocusing on the audience, it may be better to give students the information needed to make an argument and then guide them through the process of argumentation, emphasizing the importance of why the elements should be used.