As you research your persuasive essay, you might find tables, charts, graphics, and graphs that provide data that supports your thesis. When revising your essay, you should consider your audience and decide whether the data you are sharing with them is the data that they will find most persuasive.

A photograph of students moving through a cafeteria line. They are reaching in for food items with tongs.

Source: DSC_0019-3.jpg, reed_sandridge, Flickr


Let’s revisit the topic of the revised school lunch program guidelines and the concerns of some of the groups involved.

Cafeteria managers: Concerned about increased waste and meeting their budgets

Parents: Concerned about the increased cost of school lunches and how the lunches will taste

Students: Concerned about foods that will be offered under the new guidelines and how the foods will taste

School Administration: Concerned that students will skip lunch so that the cafeteria won't be used to capacity

icon for interactive exercise

Now, do a short exercise. Click on the audience for whom each data source would be most relevant.

  1. A table comparing cost of a lunch under old guidelines to cost of a lunch under new guidelines.

  2. a. Parents
    Try again.
    b. Cafeteria managers
    Try again.
    c. Parents and cafeteria managers
    Correct!
    d. School Administration
    Try again.

  3. A survey of students asking whether they will continue to eat in the cafeteria that now has new menu items.

  4. a. Parents and students
    Try again.
    b. Cafeteria managers and students
    Try again.
    c. Parents, students, and cafeteria managers
    Try again.
    d. School Administration
    Correct!

     A photograph of a student holding his lunch out in front of him. He is standing in a school cafeteria.

    Source: DSC_0031-3.jpg, reed_sandbridge, Flickr

  5. A graph comparing the number of students purchasing lunch under the old guidelines to students purchasing lunch under the new guidelines

  6. a. Cafeteria managers
    Correct!
    b. Parents
    Try again.
    c. Students
    Try again.
    d. School Administration
    Try again.

  7. A slide show detailing the required servings of each food group plus 
    guidelines on calories, sodium, and fat

  8. a. Cafeteria workers
    Try again.
    b. Students and cafeteria workers
    Try again.
    c. Parents and students
    Correct!
    d. School Administration
    Try again.

  9. An interview with an elementary school cafeteria manager discussing new menu items

  10. a. Parents
    Try again.
    b. Students and cafeteria managers
    Try again.
    c. Students
    Correct!
    d. School Administration
    Try again.

Let’s stay with the topic of the revised school lunch program but look at a different argument and audience. Pretend you are writing an article for the local paper encouraging students and parents to give the new school lunch menu a try. Here’s the introduction.

School is starting again, and this means big changes are coming. New teachers, new classrooms, new classmates, and a new cafeteria menu. The Healthy Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010 established new guidelines for what our cafeterias can serve for breakfast and lunch. These changes are designed to keep schools from contributing to the growing child obesity problem so schools will become part of the solution instead. Many in our community are worried about students adjusting to the healthier options on the menus. Before passing judgment, however, all students should give the new items a try.


take notes icon Use your notes to answer the following question: Of the data sources in the numbered interactive above, which ones might be relevant to the argument and audience for this essay? Why? When you are finished answering, check your understanding.

Check Your Understanding

Sample Response:


The survey of student reaction to the new items, the slide show detailing the new guidelines on servings, calories, fat, and sodium, and the interview with the cafeteria manager would be relevant to the audience and support the argument.