The effectiveness of a single intervention of computer-aided argument mapping in a marketing and a financial accounting subject

W. Martin Davies
University of Melbourne
An argument map visually represents the structure of an argument, outlining its informal logical connections and informing judgments as to its worthiness. Argument mapping can be augmented with dedicated software that aids the mapping process. Empirical evidence suggests that semester‐length subjects using argument mapping along with dedicated software can produce remarkable increases in students’ critical thinking abilities. Introducing such specialised subjects, however, is often practically and politically difficult. This study ascertains student perceptions of the use of argument mapping in two large, regular, semester‐length classes in a Business and Economics Faculty at the University of Melbourne. Unlike the semester‐length expert‐led trials in prior research, in our study only one expert‐led session was conducted at the beginning of the semester and followed by class practice. Survey results conducted at the end of the semester, show that, with reservations, even this minimalist, ‘one‐shot inoculation’ of argument mapping is effective in terms of students’ perceptions of improvements in their critical thinking skills.
Keywords argument mapping  critical thinking
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