The Making of Arguments eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 344 pages of information about The Making of Arguments.

3.  Report on the following, in not more than one hundred words, naming the source from which you got your information:  the situation and government of the Fiji Islands; Circe; the author of “A man’s a man for a’ that”; Becky Sharp; the age of President Taft and the offices he has held; the early career of James Madison; the American amateur record in the half-mile run; the family name of Lord Salisbury, and a brief account of his career; the salary of the mayor of New York; the island of Guam:  some of the important measures passed by Congress in the session of 1910-1911. (This exercise a teacher can vary indefinitely by turning over the pages of reference books which his class can reach; or the students can be set to making exercises for each other.)

14.  Bibliography.  Before starting in earnest on the reading for your argument, begin a bibliography, that is, a list of the books and articles and speeches which will help you.  This bibliography should be entered in your notebook, and it is convenient to allow space enough there to keep the different kinds of sources separate.  In making your bibliography you will use some of the sources which have just been described, especially “Poole’s Index,” and “The Reader’s Guide,” and the subject catalogue of the library.  Make your entries so full that you can go at once to the source; it is poor economy to save a minute on copying down a title, and then waste ten or fifteen in going back to the source from which you got it.  On large subjects the number of books and articles is far beyond the possibilities of most courses in argumentation, and here you must exercise your judgment in choosing the most important.  The name of the author is on the whole a safe guide:  if you find an article or a book by President Eliot on an educational subject, or one by President Hadley on economics, or one by President Jordan on zoology, or one by any of them on university policy, you will know at once that you cannot afford to neglect it.  As you go on with your reading you will soon find who are authorities on special subjects by noting who are quoted in text and footnotes.  If the subject happens to be one of those on which a bibliography has been issued either by the Library of Congress or from some other source, the making of your own bibliography will reduce itself to a selection from this list.

Keep your bibliography as a practical aid to you in a very practical task.  Do not swell it from mere love of accumulation, as you might collect stamps.  The making of exhaustive bibliographies is work for advanced scholarship or for assistant librarians.  For the practical purposes of making an argument a very moderate number of titles beyond those you can actually use will give you sufficient background.

Notebook.  Enter in your notebook the titles of books, articles, or speeches which bear on your subject, and which you are likely to be able to read.

Illustration.  Bibliography for an argument on introducing commission government of the Des Moines type into Wytown.

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The Making of Arguments from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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