PEEL

Session three of the Debate-Ed Programme focuses on the tools the students will need to help them make effective arguments. One of the main tools the programme teaches is PEEL which stands for: Point, Example/Evidence, Explanation and Link.

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For every argument they make, the students need to:

  • Make an articulate and relevant point. For example in a debate about bringing back the death penalty, their point might be some crimes are so awful that no other punishment would be proportionate.

  • Give an example or evidence that supports their point. For example crimes such as those perpetrated by Myra Hindley and Ian Brady or acts or terrorism such as the Paris attacks or 9/11 attacks. They would need to explain why these crimes are considered worse than other murders eg multiple victims, presence of planning and pre-meditation and lack of remorse shown by the criminal.

  • Fully explain their point and why it is powerful enough to convince people to agree with them. The trick to this is to continue to ask yourself ‘why does that matter?’ If you successfully keep answering that question then you will have explained your point fully. For example; ‘It is important that crimes are punished in a proportionate manner as this deters others from committing crimes, and shows the correct level of condemnation for the act committed.’

  • Link their point to the overall debate. This can be as simple as a couple of sentences in most case and is essentially a concluding remark, which shows why your well-explained and developed point should persuade the audience that your side of the debate is correct. For example; ‘Because it is so important that crimes are punished proportionately, and as the only proportionate punishment in horrific crimes is the death penalty, we should bring back the death penalty to be used in these specific cases.’

Why use PEEL?

Simply put it is an easy structure which ensures you cover the points you will need to in order to be persuasive. It can be used both when speaking to an audience and when writing exams or essays. It can either be used later on in life when you are pitching to a company, discussing something with a client, arguing with loved ones or even writing an advert.

For instance, if you look at some of the adverts produced for Black Friday and the January Sales, you will see that most of them make their point (eg 50% off), give an example of a product or deal which you might want to purchase, and provide evidence/explanation of why it is a good purchase (eg the price it used to be compared to what it is now) and then makes a concluding remark to encourage a hasty purchase today (eg limited stock/offer expires in X hours).

Knowing how to be persuasive and use these skills gives the students the skills they need to progress both within higher education and the workplace.