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Gary Comstock (professor of philosophy at Norh Carolina State University):

 " Before Rationale, I was only able to lecture at my students about the skill of evaluating arguments. 

After Rationale, I have the technology I need to help them actually acquire the skill." 


Kees van EE, Stafbureau O&O, Hanzehogeschool:

' Finally: a method that provides lecturers with real tools to help students getting their thinking and writing to a higher level.

And even more: the excellent Rationale program helps you making a good structure for your reasoning, arguments, analyses and evaluation.'


 More testimonials





Writing an Essay with the help of Rationale

Rationale is a useful tool to build up a clear, well-structured paper. A short video shows how this works.

The advantage of making an argument map in Rationale prior to writing an essay is that this forces the writer to be precise as to what he wants to contend and why.

On the process of writing an essay with the help of Rationale, see 6 Steps to better critical thinking .
See here for another way of descibing the advantages of thinking first and writing later.

The advantage of an argument map in teaching is that the teacher can assess at a glance, so without too much reading, the quality of the argument in its various parts, and does not have to go through an entire text to check for an inadequate or possibly even absent structure.

Possible feedback questions that the teacher can ask:

- Does the student provide reasons for reasons, in other words, what is the depth of the argument?
- Does the student take account of possible objections to the contention and the reasons provided, and, if so, are they adequately rebutted?
- Is reference made to sources of information and, if so, what is their quality in relation to the claims they are supposed to be supporting by providing evidence?
- Is the line of reasoning correct? If there is any doubt, the teacher can ask for an analysis of the whole, or parts, by having the map worked out in the analysis mode within Rationale. In that case the student should add the necessary co-premises.
- Has the student added a convincing evaluation of the parts and the whole of the line of reasoning as an explanation of this map?

Rationale is also used for writing scientific articles and research reports. Geoff Hyde (National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore) is developing an online course of een online cursus Scientific Writing into which Rationale is integrated. From the introduction to this course:

'Rationale is mainly focussed on teaching people how to think clearly about contentious issues, and has very successfully popularized a diagrammatic method of argument development. My experiences in the classroom have taught me that this diagrammatic approach is also a great starting point for writing all types of scientific text. It is the most practical way to outline that I have come across. Outlining is often promoted as a writing tool because it forces the writer to focus first on organising ideas, before moving onto packaging them.'



An example of an argument map made in Rationale that a teacher could ask a student to make as a first step. Note how conveniently a teacher can provide feedback on the initial setup of the student.