The Science Of Scientific Writing    Set 8     Set 8-More on assessingSecond pageThird pageExampleExercise 1Exercise 2Writing an assessed argumentFinal Page Set 8.

Course Home

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 2

1. Evaluate the following argument map:

Capital punishment map

Drag this image onto the workspace to proceed.  You must be using the inbuilt browser in Rationale 1.3 or later.


  • Start evaluating at the left-most basis box and work through one branch at a time from bottom to top, and finish by evaluating the position

  • When evaluating basis boxes, ask yourself: is this a reliable source of information? Does this basis provide sufficient sufficient evidence for me to believe the claim above it?

  • When evaluating reasons, ask yourself: what confidence do I have in this reason, given my assessment of its basis?
    • If you think its basis is reliable, ask yourself: does this reason give support for the claim above it? How good a reason is it - strong or weak?
    • If you think its basis is unreliable, ask yourself: could I still reasonably accept this claim on other grounds?  If the answer is no, then the reason can't provide any support for the claim above it.
  • Evaluate objections the same way that you evaluate reasons, but the question becomes: does this claim undermine the claim above it?
  • To evaluate the position, ask yourself: what confidence do I have in this, given my evaluation of the top layer of reasons and objections? On balance, is there a better case for accepting it, rejecting it, or taking no stand on the matter?

2. Check your work against the model.



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