Try Argument Mapping! Improving Students’ Critical Thinking SkillsSubmitted by Brett Fulkerson-Smith, Philosophy

As part of its ongoing work to improve the results of the General Education Critical Thinking Assessment, the Learning Assessment Committee’s General Education-Critical Thinking Work Group designed a two-part workshop on argument mapping. The first of the two sessions, held virtually on October 30, 2020, was facilitated by Dr. Dona Warren, Director of the Critical Thinking Center at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.

Nearly two-dozen Harper faculty members and administrators attended the first workshop, which focused on the fundamentals of argument mapping both as a tool for analyzing existing arguments and creating one’s own arguments.

Feedback from Workshop Participants

  • “Argument mapping will help students visualize the relationships between the ideas that support a position.”
  • “It will help students understand the structure of the argument they are building and criticizing.”
  • “[Argument mapping] will help students better organize their own writing.”
  • “Argument mapping gives a visual representation of the argument which makes the statements (premise/conclusion) and their relation clearer/more precise.”

The second workshop—scheduled for early spring—will focus on teaching argument mapping to students. Registration information will be posted in an upcoming issue of Academy News. Questions? Contact Brett Fulkerson-Smith at