How to Write a Justification Narrative

A solid argument wins cases.
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Regardless of whether you’re trying to change a section in your college’s student handbook or hoping to get a piece of legislation passed through Congress, the way you present requests for change is important. A justification essay is an effective tool for teaching students how to formulate a proposal.

1 Central Claim

The center of a justification essay is a specific claim you believe should be enacted. Your central claim will be the primary focus of your essay, and needs enough substance and depth to sustain an entire essay. For example, if your contention is that marijuana should be legal in New Hampshire, there are enough social, cultural and economic ramifications to analyze and examine concerning the claim to sustain a paper.

2 Reasons

Once a substantial proposal is evident it’s your job to present and develop reasons to show why your central claim has merit. Strong reasons are often developed by catering to your audience’s principles, desired consequences and current values. For example, if your justification narrative is arguing against animal cruelty in fast food meat production, and the majority of your audience are pet owners, it’s wise to cater an aspect of your argument to that existing value system.

3 Budget

Many changes in social, political and environmental arenas take substantial amounts of money to promote. In order to offer further justification as to why your claim is necessary and plausible, it’s often wise to include a proposed budget. By proving your claim is financially reasonable, allowable and worth funding your audience will be more inclined to support it.

4 Conclusion

Instead of reiterating the claims that you’ve made over the course of your justification essay, use your conclusion to relate claims, evidence and justifications in ways that haven’t yet been seen in the body of the paper. A justification narrative is one cohesive piece, and your conclusion is an opportunity to hammer home how all your claims work together in harmony. For example, if the last claim presented relates to the first, explain why in your conclusion in a way that you weren’t able to earlier, due to each claim’s placement in the essay.

Jake Shore is an award-winning Brooklyn-based playwright, published short story writer and professor at Wagner College. His short fiction has appeared in many publications including Litro Magazine, one of London's leading literary magazines. Shore earned his MFA in creative writing from Goddard College.