The Science Of Scientific Writing    Set 4     Set 4-Locating arguments in proseExample Exercise 1Exercise 2Exercise 3Exercise 4Exercise 5Final page Set 4.

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OVERVIEW: The way to well-written science

How to do the Course


PART I: Paragraphs and Sentences

SET A: Paragraphs: The Maps Behind Them

SET B: Paragraphs: Using Maps to Meet Readers' Expectations

SET C: Paragraphs with Something Extra: Points and Tails

SET D: The Generic Section: Expectations and Maps as Blueprints

SET E: Scientific Sections: The Methods and Results

SET F: Scientific Sections: The Discussion

SET G : Scientific Sections: The Introduction

SET H : Sentences

SET I : The Paper as a Whole



PART II: The Paper and its Sections


SET 1: Argument Parts

SET 2: Indicator Words

SET 3: Refining Claims

SET 4: Locating Arguments in Prose

SET 5: Rationale's Essay Planner

SET 6: Evidence in Arguments: Basis Boxes

SET 7: Assessing

SET 8: More on Assessing

SET 9: Analysis Maps

SET 10: Assessing Again

Synthesis 1: Position-Early Paragraphs

Synthesis 2: Position-Final Paragraphs

Synthesis 3: Writing a Discussion I

Synthesis 4: Writing a Discussion II


Exercise 5


A bigger challenge...

One of the most classic forms of argument, and one that people are very familiar with, is the court-room trial - is the accused innocent or guilty? Courtroom arguments have one very important feature in common with scientific arguments: a heavy emphasis on evidence. Keep that in mind as you map the following text, the closing argument of the Defence, in the case of...

The State of the Karnataka versus Mr Kumar Gupta

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution would have you believe that my most honorable client, Mr Kumar, was responsible for the disappearance, last month, of a cell phone from a table in a busy Bangalore café, frequented by the phone-in-question's owner, Mr Anil.

Now my learned friend did bring to our attention some things that he referred to as evidence, in an attempt to link Mr Kumar to this incident. But in each case the connection he tried to make was as loose as a goose on a moose. To start with, the Prosecution regaled us with the report that Mr Kumar was seen making a cell phone call, using a phone of the same model, at the same moment as a call made from Anil's missing phone on July 16, two days after the café affair. Perhaps my client was even phoning the very store in RT Nagar from which he had so wilfully purchased, with receipts, his own phone of that same model, two months before he had the misfortune to cohabit Coffee Café Day with Anil?

If I were the Prosecutor here, you would not have been asked to let loose your powers of imagination on that desperate detail. But, my learned friend, ever happy to plunder the public purse, dragged in a most unfortunate example of a voice expert, to share her musings on that recorded call. This lady was willing to dishonor her profession by offering an opinion of which she is only 50-60% certain. May I suggest to my learned friend that, next time, tossing a coin would be cheaper?

Well, it was a wild ride with the Prosecution, and I do hesitate to put a stop to the fun with anything as sobering as facts. But as my one witness, the highly-respected Constable Sandeep, did inform us, when Mr Kumar was assailed by this Anil fellow in full public view outside the café, there was a remarkable absence of cell phones upon his body. Perhaps out of sheer embarassment at his friend's antics, the half-blind Umesh now gropes his way onto the scene, to weigh in on the sorry state of affairs. He claims that my client was not acting alone, he had an unidentifed accomplice. The accomplices's role, to put the icing on the preosecution's all too elaborate confection, was to play the part of the courier who mysteriously vanishes.

Mr Kumar has a sense of humour, and he can see the funny side of this farce. But we have all had our chuckle, let us now move on, and let my client go. If for no other reason than to spare our simple city's jails the fiendish machinations of the master criminal the prosecution would have you believe stands before us in the devilish disguise of a 19 year old accounting student.

Drag and drop sections of the above text onto the workspace to proceed.  This works with any version of Rationale.


  • Start by defining the main claim.
  • There is a lot of "additional" material that should NOT be added to the map (e.g. most of the Defence's attempts at humour).
  • Look for indicator words that reveal whether claims are positions, reasons, or objections
  • When you don't have indicators to give you clues, you'll need to work out the argument's logical structure by thinking about which claims give support to, or undermine, other claims, and which claim expresses the argumentative position (the main point at stake)
  • If you have trouble working out where to locate a reason, ask yourself: does this reason offer direct support for the position, or does it support some other claim?

In this case: no Model to check against!




Content of this page drawn in whole or part from the Austhink Rationale Exercises with permission from Austhink.