Persuading the reader

We have been suggesting throughout this chapter that making an argument is about having a position on a topic and engaging the reader - in the end, it is about persuading the reader to adopt your point of view or position. We have been looking at ways of making the argument with the reader in mind and in this final section we look in more detail at how the reader can be persuaded of the author's point of view. Interestingly, this piece of writing persuades not by imagining the reader as an adversary but as someone who is already prepared to sympathize with the author's own position.

The piece of writing we are going to consider in Activity Twenty-three is not conventionally 'academic'; for example, it has no references and it is polemical. This article is best described as a piece of academic journalism; it is about higher education and the author is a professor of higher education. The piece was first published in The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES), a UK weekly newspaper for those concerned with higher education policy and practice. We have chosen it as a good example of writing that progressively involves and persuades the reader by using language in particular ways in order to build a powerful argument.

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