Date of Original Version

2008

Type

Working Paper

Published In

Higher Education Research & Development

Rights Management

All Rights Reserved

Abstract or Table of Contents

In a multi-study naturalistic quasi-experiment involving 269 students in a semester-long introductory philosophy course, we investigated the effect of teaching argument diagramming (AD) on students’ scores on argument analysis tasks. An argument diagram is a visual representation of the content and structure of an argument. In each study, all of the students completed pre- and posttests containing argument analysis tasks. During the semester, the treatment group was taught AD, while the control group was not. The results were that among the different pretest achievement levels, the scores of low-achieving students who were taught AD increased significantly more than the scores of low-achieving students who were not taught AD, while the scores of the intermediate- and high-achieving students did not differ significantly between the treatment and control groups. The implication of these studies is that learning AD significantly improves low-achieving students’ ability to analyze arguments.

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