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MY120, Maidwell Building, Avenue Campus, University of Northampton

Saint George's Avenue



United Kingdom

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How to Argue

Dr Graham Smith

Argument mapping (AM) is an innovative technique for visualizing arguments. AM helps individuals and groups to reach better decisions. AM can also be used in educational settings to promote the deeper understanding of complex arguments and to develop critical thinking skills.

It is particularly useful in helping groups to fully explore and reach agreement on contentious issues. The method involves the production of an argument map consisting of a network of boxes with connecting arrows. Each box contains a brief description of a claim; e.g., "All cars should be banned from the city centre", "The theory of evolution by natural selection is true" and "Shakespeare is the greatest English dramatist". The links between boxes indicate whether claims support or refute each other. A completed argument map serves as a summary of a debate, including all the views and opinions expressed perhaps by many different contributors.

Argument maps are easily and quickly interpreted permitting sound judgments and as such they make excellent executive summaries. After an introduction to AM, activities will provide hands-on experience of producing an argument map and drawing conclusions from it. There will also be an opportunity to discuss the various uses of AM within decision making and educational settings.

This workshop is open to any student currently registered on a research degree programme at the University of Northampton. Further information is available from Simone Apel (; 01604 893418).

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