Online Argument


Claims, Reasons, Evidence, Acknowledgment and Response, Warrants
Identify/Generate the principle
Time: 40 minutes

In this activity, students trace the development of arguments through chatroom transcripts.

Go to a chatroom/discussion board on a topic related to your theme. Print out a transcript of one or two threads that contain parts of argument.

Pass out copies of the transcript, along with instructions for how to annotate the transcript. (Instructions below.)

Go through the first few messages as a class, then either break students into smaller groups to annotate, or ask them to annotate the transcript for homework.

As a class, analyze the patterns of the transcript: did people make lots of claims, but use little evidence? What seemed to count as convincing evidence? What kinds of claims didn't even need supporting? etc.
Instructions for Annotating Transcripts

Your job is to analyze the flow of argument in this conversation by labeling the parts of an argument in the margin. For each, indicate both (a) what part it is and (b) what prior element it develops or responds to. For example, Reason, supporting the claim in #6 or Claim, contradicting the claim in #6 or Evidence, support the reason in #9. If the contribution is a question, indicate what part of argument it addresses. For example, Request for evidence to support the claim in #8. Don't expect to label everything. Some parts of this conversation are not parts of argument.