Argument Diagramming and Critical Thinking in Introductory Philosophy

Maralee Harrell
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
more » ... , 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.
doi:10.1184/r1/6490934.v1 fatcat:nf4ulgz5yvcn7kdct7ozqxrcdq