The Organization of an Argument, according to classical rhetoric

Latin term English term
Literally, "beginning a web"
Composed of two main functions: to inform the audience of the object of the discourse and to dispose the audience to be receptive to the argument. There are 5 types of introductions:
  • Inquisitive. Shows that the subject is interesting, important, or odd.
  • Paradoxical. Sets up an expectation or implicit agreement on the reader's part, then contradicts it.
  • Corrective. Shows that the topic has been neglected or ignored.
  • Preparatory. The writer "prepares" the reader for the discourse by talking about it or apologizing or qualifying the following text.
  • Narrative. One of the most effective intros, this gambit tells an anecdote or story to snag the reader's interest and identify the subject.
Narratio Statement of fact, Description of topic, Exposition
This section informs the audience about the most important features or facts concerning the topic of the discourse. A scholarly review of statistics, authoritative opinion, literature, etc. would be appropriate here. In Lit articles, there is often a bibliographic endnote associated with the narratio.
Confirmatio or Probatio Confirmation or Proof
This is the argument of the paper. Here the writer will likely define terms to her/his advantage, make logically-connected claims, offer supporting material to buttress those claims, and come to a compelling conclusion.
Refutatio Refutation
In this section of the discourse, the writer will undermine opposing claims or arguments by appealing to: reason, emotion, ethics, and wit or word play (including analogy).
Peroratio--literally, a "finishing off" Conclusion
According to Aristotle, a conclusion should:
  • leave the audience with a favorable impression of the writer's credentials and intentions
  • stress the important claims made and weaken contradicting claims
  • arouse the audience appropriately
  • recapitulate or summarize the most important points