Skip to Main Content
Skip to main content

Critical Thinking Tutorial: Argument Mapping

This tutorial will empower you with valuable critical thinking skills that are essential for your university education.

The Purpose of Argument Mapping

Before we conclude, let's take a look at argument mapping, notably one of the most useful tools to help you become a better critical thinker. Remember that arguments are not always neatly packaged in ways that are easy to understand. Simple arguments contain one or two premises, but complex arguments contain multiple premises that can function independently or co-dependently. Analyzing an argument from the raw text alone can be challenging, but creating an argument map can help you locate the evidence in support of the claim and see the connections between them.

By definition, an argument map is a visual representation of a complex or multi-layer argument that makes it easier to see the connections between the premises and the conclusion they support. By using an argument map, you should be able to determine whether the connections are logical, and if the argument is valid, sound, strong or weak.

Source: Studies in Critical Thinking by Martin Davies; Ashley Barnett; and Tim van Gelder,
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


Argument Mapping in Action

It takes a great deal of practice to accurately reconstruct multi-layer arguments from a passage of raw text. Thankfully, it's much easier to think critically about a text if you're aware of how to analyze an argument using its component parts. This short video from uses a free online mapping tool called Mindmup to demonstrate how argument mapping works.

Source: Map an Argument with MindMup by ThinkerAnalytix on YouTube

Dig a Little Deeper

Argument mapping can be quite involved and depends on a good working knowledge of the components of an argumen and the interplay between those components. For more information and step-by-step instructions, see Chapter 10 of Studies in Critical Thinking, an open textbook provided by eCampusOntario. Scroll down to the bottom of the chapter, or use 'cntrl F' to find: 'A procedural approach to argument mapping' and follow steps 1 - 8.