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    What is a claim? What are its characteristics?

    Knowing how to identify explicit and implicit information will help you in one of the most important skills needed in critical reading: evaluating the claims made by an author. This involves going back to the text to recognize the writer’s arguments and evidence so you can begin judging the writer’s work.

    Whenever you read something, you find yourself looking for the writer’s point or position regarding the chosen topic. That point is also known as the claim, or the central argument or thesis statement of the text. This claim is what the writer tries to prove In I the text by providing details, explanations, and other types of evidence. As such, it is usually found in the introduction or in the first few paragraphs of the text.

    The claim is the most important part of the text. The quality and complexity of the reading depend on the claim because the claim defines the paper’s direction and scope The claim is a sentence that summarizes the most important thing that the writer wants to. say as a result of his/her thinking, reading, or writing.

    The following are the characteristics of good claims:

    1. A claim should be argumentative and debatable. When a writer makes a claim, he/she is making a case for a particular perspective on the topic. Readers expect to be able to raise objections to your claim, and they can only raise objections if the claim is something that can be reasonably challenged. Claims that are only factual or based on opinion, thus, are not debatable.
    2. A claim should be specific and focused. If the claim is unfocused, the paper will be too broad in scope and will lack direction and a clear connection to the support provided. It may also lead to overgeneralisations and vague assertions.
    3. A claim should be interesting and engaging. It should hook the reader, who may or may not agree with you, to encourage them to consider your perspective and learn something new from you.
    4. A claim should be logical. It should result from a reasonable weighing of support provided. Here are some questions to help you determine the writer’s claim while you are reading a text:
      • What is the author’s main point?
      • What is the author’s position regarding it?

    READ: Distinguishing Between the Types of Claims

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