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15.5.1: Allison Murray's Course Map for Argumentation and Critical Thinking

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    Overall course narrative

    Argumentative Writing and Critical Thinking (C-ID English 105) offers instruction in argumentation, critical thinking, and writing, analytical evaluation of primarily non-fiction texts, research strategies, information literacy, and MLA documentation.  Students will learn to distinguish, identify and avoid logical fallacies, as well as the foundations and structures that inform strong and interesting arguments.

    A Sample Essay Assignment Sequence for Argumentative Writing and Critical Thinking


    Course objectives (See the course descriptor for C-ID English 105)


    Essay Assignment 


    Preparatory activities and assessments

    1, 3, 5, 7

    Essay 1: Summary Essay

    Students will write a detailed and accurate summary of an assigned or chosen argumentative text.  The assignment fosters a concise understanding of another’s point of view and transference of that understanding.  To engage with the text, students must first critically read, analyze and understand a complex non-fiction text.

    1, 2, 3, 5, 7

    Essay 2: Summary and Assessment

    Students will write an evaluative, thesis-driven summary analysis, building upon the skills in the Summary Essay, and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a text.  Students must critically read, analyze, compare and evaluate complex non-fiction texts, as well as identify the text’s premises and assumptions (warrants) in various social, historical, cultural, psychological or aesthetic contexts as appropriate.  Students may also identify logical fallacies--if present--within the text.

    1, 2, 3, 5, 7

    Essay 3: Summary, Assessment, and Response

    Students will build upon summary and assessment skills by writing an essay that also responds to an argumentative non-fiction text.  Students must first critically read, analyze, compare and evaluate a complex text, and demonstrate an understanding of common logical fallacies by identifying any present in the text, in addition to identifying the text’s premises and assumptions.  The essay will be a thesis-driven response to the text, supported by evidence from the text, and written in an academic tone, which demonstrates control of grammar, usage and sentence structure.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

    Essay 4: Research Essay

    Students will “engage in a critical conversation about a controversial topic,” using academic research to support the position (thesis), and inductive or deductive reasoning that utilizes ethos, pathos and logos, and that avoids logical fallacies.  Analysis and evaluation of the issue and accompanying primary and secondary sources will demonstrate the student’s understanding of premises and assumptions surrounding the issue. The writing will reflect academic tone, voice and control over English grammar and usage.  Documentation will reflect MLA ethical standards, avoiding plagiarism.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Essay 5: Argument Analysis Essay 

    Students will combine each skill gained in the previous assignments to construct an argument that summarizes, assesses and evaluates an assigned text to identify uses of logical or emotional appeals (logos and pathos), as well as the author’s ability to build trust (ethos). The essay’s thesis will argue the text’s overall veracity, while body paragraphs acknowledge the text’s structural choices (inductive and deductive reasoning) and identify any logical fallacies.  The essay may utilize secondary sources in addition to the primary source/s, and students will use MLA citation and documentation, avoiding plagiarism.  Essays will be carefully edited to reflect standards of English grammar, usage and clarity.

    Sample essays to analyze:




    Content by Allison Murray, licensed CC BY NC 4.0. Template adapted by Anna Mills from The Online Course Mapping Guide Course Map Template from the Digital Learning Hub in the Teaching + Learning Commons at UC San Diego, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 International License.

    15.5.1: Allison Murray's Course Map for Argumentation and Critical Thinking is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.