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Narratio or Background summarizes relevant background material, provides any information the audience needs to know about the environment and circumstances that produce the argument, and set up the stakes–what’s at risk in this question. Ask yourself:  what does my audience need to know about this topic before they can agree with me? 
Here are some options for writing background in classical argument:
  • Define terms for your audience, in a way that goes beyond Merriam-WebsTer:  legal definitions, professional definitions, medical definitions, philosopohical definitions.
  • Provide a brief, accurate timeline of events or an  overview that explains how the current disagreement came to exist.
  • Create a pattern of anecdotal evidence that proves kairos or exigence of the topic.
  • Cite quantitative proof that documents the exigence of your topic.
  • Establish the true wording of laws, treaties, agreements, statutes, that currently bind anyone dealing with this topic.  
  • Establish exigence by citing stochastic predictions about your topic's status quo, if nothing changes.
The baseline question before you decide what to include:  What is it htat you know that they NEED to know?  What information, if shared with my audience, will increase the chances they will adopt my point of view?  

Compose the narratio/background portion of your classical argument by combining 3 of the methods above.  Cite your sources in APA style:  (author, year).  Use a page number only if you are quoting directly.



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