This is a precursor post, to set out the parameters of the coming series of exercises for this week.

As previously mentioned, the idea here is to practice providing feedback on arguments. This is similar to what happens in discussions when you raise objections, but formalised; we have been doing something similar (but much less detailed) with the discussion templates. In terms of your writing, this should help in terms of providing balance, but also, if applied properly, with improving the quality of your arguments generally as you apply feedback to your own arguments while producing them.

To do this more effectively, a categorised guideline will be used, which can be treated as a ordered checklist:

  1. Clarity
    1. What is the argument? (What is the overall claims, and what reasons are offered to support this?)
    2. Are there any areas that are unclear? (e.g. ambiguity of terms, lack of transition phrases)
  2. Value
    1. In what way does the argument make sense?
    2. Are there any particularly interesting or enlightening points made?
  3. Criticism
    1. Are the reasons acceptable? (Are any dubious or questionable, or require further supporting evidence?)
    2. Are the various inferences from reasons to claims logical? (Is there any reliance on fallacious logic?)
  4. Suggestions for improvement
    1. How can the above problems be resolved?
    2. Are there ways to further enhance the positive aspects of the argument?

An example of this process will be the content of the next post.