Distinguishing Between the Types of Claims

    Now that you know the characteristics of a good claim, you will be introduced to the different types of claims that a writer can make: fact, value, or policy. You can usually determine this by examining the type of questions they answer about the text.

    First, claims of fact state a quantifiable assertion or a measurable topic. They assert that something has existed, exists, or will exist based on data. They rely on reliable sources or systematic procedures to be validated; this is what makes them different from inferences.

    Claims of fact usually answer a “what” question. When determining whether something is a claim of fact, the following questions are useful:

    • Is this issue related to a possible cause or effect?
    • Is this statement true or false? How can its truthfulness be verified?
    • Is this claim controversial or debatable?

    Next, claims of value assert something that can be qualified. They consist of arguments about moral, philosophical, or aesthetic topics. These types of topics try to prove that some values are more or less desirable compared to others. They make judgments, based on certain standards, on whether something is right or wrong, good or bad, or something similar.

    Claims of value attempt to explain how problems, situations, or issues ought to be valued. To discover these explanations, you may ask the following questions:

    • Which claims endorse what is good or right?
    • What qualities should be considered good? Why?
    • Which of these values contend with others? Which ones are more important, b( and why? Whose standards are used? in .
    • What are some concrete examples of such values?

    Finally, claims of policy posit that specific actions should be chosen as solutions to a particular problem. You can easily identify a claim of policy because they begin with “should,” “ought to,” or “must.” Claims of policy because they defend actionable plans, usually answer “how” questions. The following questions will be useful in evaluating a claim of policy:

    • Does the claim suggest a specific remedy to solve the problem?
    • Is the policy clearly defined?
    • Is the need for the policy established?
    • Is the policy the best one available? For whom? According to whose standards?
    • Now does the policy solve the problem?

    READ: Identifying the Context of Text Development

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