Approved by University Studies Sub-Committee.  A2C2 action pending.

University Studies Course Approval Form

 

1. Department of Program: Communication Studies

2. Course Number: 375

3 Semester Hours: 3

4. Frequency of Offering : Every Semester

5. Course title: Argumentation and Advocacy

6. Catalog Description: The study of "reason-giving" as a process for decision-making and the creation of social knowledge. Participants in the class use research, discussion and practice in argumentative speaking and writing to develop critical thinking skills. Prerequisites: CMST 191 and CMST 282 or CMST 283 or instructor’s permission for non-majors.

7. This is an existing course previously

approved by A2C2: Yes

 

8. This is a new course proposal No

approved by A2C2:

9. University Studies requirement this

course would satisfy: Critical Analysis

 

10. Department Contact Person: Ted Reilly 457-5238 ereilly@vax2

 

11. General Course Outcomes: The following outcomes are listed on the courses syllabus (attached): identify and classify types of arguments; identify and distinguish between various types of claims advanced; evaluate and critique the strengths, weaknesses and relevancy of evidence; evaluate and critique the different types of reasoning; understand the similarities and differences of argument presented in different argument fields; understand and be able to use various models of argument.

  1. Course Outcomes:

a. evaluate the validity and reliability of information;

 

A significant portion of the course is devoted to the study of evidence. This includes identifying types of evidence (statistical data; testimony; narrative; etc), using tests of evidence to ensure validity, and examining the strength of evidence presented to substantiate claims in argument. Class exercises and assignments include research requirements and examinations of such data collected. There are reading assignments on evidence and several class periods are devoted to the evaluation of information.

 

b. analyze modes of thought, expressive works, arguments, explanations, or theories;

The study of argumentation itself is treated as the study of modes of thought and expression. Various typologies of arguments and reasoning are considered in this course, including classical models such as inductive and deductive arguments, as well as the more contemporary approaches such as narrative modes of argument and Toulmin’s model. Attention is then given to argument practices in specialized fields such as science, religion, politics, business, and interpersonal situations. By the end of the course, the student will have demonstrated an ability to evaluate the validity of claims, strength and relevance of reasoning and evidence as appropriate to various contexts.

 

c. recognize possible inadequacies or biases in the evidence given to support arguments or conclusions; and

The ability to evaluate evidence is paramount to critical thinking. As such, the student is expected to leave this course with strong abilities to look evaluate the strengths of evidence and reasoning as they are related to claims advanced. Significant attention is paid to the evaluation of evidence for accuracy, relevance and bias, (as noted above). The course devotes significant time and depth to the study of reasoning as well, examining the relationships between evidence and claims for validity. Common fallacies of evidence and reasoning are studied and the student is expected to leave the course with the ability to detect and repair such inadequacies.

 

d. advance and support claims

Throughout the course, students have repeated opportunities to advance and support claims. The syllabus calls for several weeks devoted to the study of claims and evidence. Students also participate in argumentative exercises included in formal academic debating. All students are required to participate. By the end of the term, each student will have studied how to advance, support, and critique claims, as well as participated in a formal debate.

 

Sample Syllabus

CMST 375 ARGUMENTATION
SPRING, 2001

Dr. Ted Reilly | Office: 204, PAC | 457-5238
Hours: MWF 9-10; 12-1; MW 2-4  TTH by appt.| Ereilly@vax2

Text: Hollihan, T & Baaske, K. (1998). Arguments and arguing.  Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland. 

*** There will be articles on reserve in the library for reading throughout the semester.

 

Course Description: This course investigates and applies basic principles of argumentation to varied discourse contexts. Attention will be paid to understanding theoretical models of argument and critical thinking, as well as being able to apply those models and skills in a variety of communication contexts. Specifically, the course will enhance and refine students' abilities to:

1. identify and classify types of arguments
2. identify and distinguish between various types of claims advanced
3. evaluate and critique the strengths, weaknesses and relevancy of evidence
4. evaluate and critique the different types of reasoning
5. understand the similarities and differences of argument presented in different argument fields. 
6. understand and be able to use various models of argument

Late
Policy: Late projects will be reduced up to 20% for each period late. Make your 1st priority delivering projects on time.

 

Attendance:  This is a three hundred level class.  As such, more is expected of you.  This is especially the case in class preparation and discussion.     3 free absences for whatever reason. Thereafter, 15 pts apiece deducted from final grade.  I do not keep track of excuses, and I do little to distinguish between excused and unexcused absences.    

 

Academic Integrity: All work presented in this class should be no less than 100 percent your own. All violations are handled through University Judicial System.

 

Writing/Speaking considerations: All work turned in for a grade (papers, outlines) are to be cleanly typed, double spaced. Keep papers and speeches free from profanity, racism, sexism, etc. Be civil. 

 

Grade Calculation: The course runs on a standard grade scale (95= middle A 85=B 75=C 65=D). Plus/minus are assigned to individual projects (plus grades= 68, 78, 88; minus grades= 72, 82, 92) not to final grade. Your grade is always available to you. You can also keep track with the column on the right.

Project Value Points Your Score
Exam #1

 15%

150

 
Exam #2

 15%

150

 
Exam #3

 15%

200

 
Paper 1

 10%

100

 
Paper 2

10%

100

 
Debate

 15%

150

 
Quiz/Disc

 15%

150

 
Total

100%

1000

 

 

This is a University Studies course in the Category of Critical analysis, which requires the following outcomes be addressed:

 

 

  1. evaluate the validity and reliability of information;
  2. analyze modes of thought, expressive works, arguments, explanations, or

theories;

  1. recognize possible inadequacies or biases in the evidence given to support arguments or conclusions; and

d. advance and support claims

 

Schedule

Date Topic Readings and Assignment
M January 8 Course Introduction  
W10 Syllabus and policies Ch 1
F12 Defining argument Ch 2
W17 Argumentative Assumptions (A) Ch 3
F19  Historical Context Ch 4
M22 Claims Ch 5
W24 Claims  
cF26 Evidence (C) Ch 7
M29 Evidence (C)  
W31 Reasoning (B) Ch 6
F February 2 Reasoning (B)  
M5 Reasoning exercises (B, D)  
W7  Discussion  
F9 Exam #1  
M12  Fallacies in Evidence (A, C) Res. Reading 
W14  Fallacies in Evidence (A,B, C)  
F16  Fallacies in Reasoning (A, B, C)  Reserve reading
M19  Fallacies in Reasoning (A, B, C)  
W21  Film  
F23  Discussion  
M26 Argument fields (B)  
W28 Argument Fields  (B)  
F March 2 Discussion  
Spring Break Spring Break Spring Break
M12  Exercises  
W14 Interpersonal Argument Ch 15
F16 Interpersonal argument  
M19 Film  
W21 Interpersonal argument  
F23 Exam #2  
M26 Academic Debate (D) ch 10
W28 Academic Debate (D) ch 11
F30 Academic debate (D)  
M April 2 Debates (D)  
W4 Debates (D)  
F6 Debates (D)  
M9 Political Argument (B) ch 12
W11 Political Argument  
F13 Political Argument  
M16 Political Debate  
W18 Argument in Law (B) ch 13
F20 Argument in Law  
M23 Argument in Business Settings (B) ch 14
W25 Argument in Business  
F27 Last day.  Catch up, Wrap up