How to Make an Argument Map


How to Make an Argument Map


Argument maps are visual ways to demonstrate reasoning and evidence for and against a statement or claim. A good map clarifies and organizes thinking by showing the logical relationships between expressed thoughts.

 

Like most people, students can quickly become fixated on the side of an argument they agree with. Argument mapping forces them to engage with opposing viewpoints. Argument maps have various benefits, including providing clearer thinking and reasoning skills, helping teachers introduce new concepts, locating flaws in logic, and promoting rational solutions.


Creating an Argument Map

 

The steps in creating an argument are from ThinkerAnalytix (TA), which is an educational nonprofit partnered with the Harvard Department of Philosophy. To create an argument map, let’s look at the different parts of an argument map in more detail:

Argument

Communication in which the speaker is trying to persuade the audience to believe, feel, or do something by giving reasons.

○ An argument is not a fight. In a fight, the speaker is just trying to get their way, regardless of whether or not they change the audience’s mind or persuade them to agree.

○ An argument is not a description. In a description, the speaker explains what happened, gives information, or tells a story. Their goal is to inform or entertain the audience rather than convince them of the main point.

Main Claim

The point of the argument. The main thing the speaker wants you to believe. In other words, a thesis.

Premise

A claim that vies a reason to believe the main claim. It answers the question, “Why believe this?”

Evidence

Concrete, specific factual information presented to support a claim, e.g., quote from a text, historical source, piece of data.

Reasoning

Explains how/why the evidence helps to prove the claim

Objections

A claim that gives a reason not to believe the main claim.

Rebuttals

A response to an objection.