Teaching Philosophy

Volume 27, Issue 2, June 2004

Charles Twardy
Pages 95-116

Argument Maps Improve Critical Thinking

This paper describes the Reason! method of argument mapping (along with the associated Reason!Able software) and measures its effect on the California Critical Thinking Skills Test. The result of the author’s study is that students who use the Reason! method, rather than other methods of teaching critical thinking skills, perform better on the California test. What accounts for the effectiveness of Reason! method is its use of argument maps, a method of representing arguments using a two-dimensional diagram involving boxes and arrows. In addition to describing the method, and presenting empirical data that supports the Reason! approach, the author provides an assessment of the various strengths and weaknesses of the method and details its use at the University of Melbourne.