Claims is defined as, “a statement asserts something to be the case or not the case” (Critical Thinking: Issues, Claims, Arguments, 2011), which is consistent with the definition given by Wood (2012,Topic 1,p.7), which states that a claim is an assertion or demand for recognition of a truth, an example of a claim is “Organizational behavior is an essential subject”. And I agreed with the two definitions on claims because, based on my personal experience as a former team member of my college’s debate team, everyone is allowed to make claims over the subject that was chosen to be debated.
On the other hand, an argument is defined as, “sets of propositions (claims/statements) which contain premises that are offered to support the truth of a conclusion” (May,2010), or in another words, it means “trying to convince each other on things we don’t agree on” (Critical Thinking: Issues, Claims, Arguments, 2011). Using the above example, others may not agree on my claim and say “Organization Behavior is not an essential subject”, this is where an argument begins and to support it, there are 3 ways to do so, supporting an argument with authority, evidence and a persuasive writing style.
Supporting an argument with authority means, “To bolster an argument is to use the word of an expert”, (Roberts, 2010). However, there are pros and cons to this statement, the pros are because he/she is an expert, and has been in his area of speciality for many years, therefore, his/her words can be reliable and can be used to support an argument.
But not forgetting that the words he/she said could be based on his/her personal opinion and could contain certain level of biasness. For example, “Organisational Behaviour is an essential subject” because my lecturers said so, this may not be convincing enough.
To further “enhance” your argument, it needs to be supported with evidences, such as facts personal experience or an actual event. A strong thesis also requires solid evidence to support and develop it because without evidence, a claim is merely an unsubstantiated idea or opinion (Indiana University Bloomington, 2010), I agree because solid evidence will provide the competitive advantage over others. For example, “Organisational Behaviour is an essential subject because as a team leader in a multi-racial company, I applied what I’ve learnt on managing for diversity, not only does it prevent inter-racial conflicts, it also improves the company’s productivity.” This is obviously a better argument compared to earlier argument.
Lastly, after gathering all evidence, we need to try to get the readers to agree on our argument; this is where persuasive writing style comes in handy. According to Landsberger (1996), in persuasive writing, we try to convince others to agree with our facts, share our values, accept our argument and conclusion.
In conclusion, the difference is that claims are statements made by someone on a certain issue, whereas an argument occurs when others do not agree and wishes to argue with their own claims. An argument needs to be support with authority, evidences and persuasive writing, evidences is the most important factor in my opinion as arguments are mostly based on facts, and facts needs to be accurate and be related to the argument as much as possible.