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Reason: This is the part of an argument which aims

to persuade you that the conclusion is true. An

argument must have at least one reason. In simple
notation, a reason is marked with R1, R2 etc. If an
argument does not have reasons, it is known as an
assertion. If you are asked to write a reason from a
source, you should quote it exactly and not use
ellipses as you might miss out an important part. For
example exposure to violent video games can cause
feelings of aggression. Reasons must be consistent
and support the conclusion to be valid.
Conclusion: the MAIN conclusion is often at the end
of the argument. This is the suggestion, idea, belief
or theory that the argument is trying to persuade
you to accept. In simple notation, the main
conclusion is written as C. If you are asked to write
the conclusion from a source, you should quote it
exactly and not use ellipses () as you might miss out
and important part. For example foreign language
lessons are not necessary on the primary school
Counter-argument: This is part of an argument which
disagrees with the main conclusion. They always
have at least one reason, or they are called counter-
assertions. You should look for words like despite
this, however, it has been claimed, contrary to
this, or some people argue. For example Some
people might say that building a new playground will
be a waste of money, as it would cost more than
30,00 0 to build, but in fact there are lots of
children who would get a lot of pleasure from
playing there.
Counter-assertion: This is a statement that goes
against the conclusion of an argument. They are like
counter-arguments but do not have any reasons to
support them. For example Some people might say
that building a new playground will be a waste of
money, but in fact there are lots of children who
would get a lot of pleasure from playing there.
Evidence (as statistics, research and numerical
information): Evidence is used to support reasons to
make them sound more convincing. Evidence can
come from research: personal observations,
statements from a source or witness, data from a
survey or estimates. It can also come from statistics
displayed as numbers, percentages, graphs and
charts. For example, studies show that 25% of boys
and 33% of girls in Britain in 2011 were overweight.
In common notation, evidence can be written as
Example: Examples are descriptions of a real
situation that illustrates a reason. They usually only
describe one situation, so they are too specific to
support a conclusion. Strong arguments use them to
make reasons more convincing but not as reasons
themselves. For example, My cousin Jane was eight
stone when she was nine years old and couldnt play
with her friends because she got tired too quickly.
In common notation, examples can be written as
Argument indicators: Reason indicators are what you
should look out for if you are asked to spot a reason,
although they do not always point directly to one.
For example: because, since, as, due to and for.
Conclusion indicators are what you should look for if
you are asked to find a conclusion. For example:
therefore, thus, so, consequently, should and which
is why.
Hypothetical reasoning: This is a claim saying that if
one thing happens, then something else will happen
as a result of it. You can often find it in the form
ifthen. For example, Mr Hamilton has banned
shorts, so if I wear mine, they will be confiscated.
Hypothetical reasoning can be used as a reason or a
conclusion, and you need to be able to explain why
something is hypothetical. For example, this is
hypothetical reasoning because the conclusion refers
to a consequence (quote) that depends upon the
conditional event (quote) in order to happen.

Assumptions are unstated reasons that are needed
for the argument to work and for the reasons and
conclusion to be connected as an argument. To find
an assumption, you should first find the arguments
reasons and conclusion, then see if there are any
steps missing that are needed for the argument to
make sense. When answering questions on
assumptions, you should make sure you are not too
strong, to wear or unrealistic in your word choice.
Evidence and examples should be evaluated using
the following points:
-The size of any survey sample quotes
-The representative nature of the sample quoted
-How and when the evidence was collected
-The potential ambiguity of findings
-Alternative interpretations of statistics
-Whether the evidence is first hand

Plausibility is how reasonable a claim is, or how likely
an outcome is. An event is plausible if it is likely to
happen, some are about future outcomes. A likely
event is more plausible than an unlikely event. A
claim is a statement that people agree or disagree
with. A plausible claim is on that it true and it is
reasonable to believe it. But be careful, just because
the claim is plausible doesnt mean its true-you just
have to make a judgement on the information you
have at the time.
Corroboration is when two sources in the same
argument agree with each other. This increases
credibility, although if the two sources are both not
credible then it decreases the credibility of the whole
Conflicting is the opposite of corroboration and is
where sources disagree with each other, reducing
credibility of the argument.
Consistency is when the arguments do not conflict;
they are the opposite of conflicting. They are always
more credible than inconsistent sources.
Neutrality is the opposite of bias. This is where a
source or witness isnt prejudiced in favour of one
side or another in an argument. It always increases
credibility because a neutral source has not motive
to lie or distort evidence. However neutral sources
can be used in a biased way by leaving out bad bits
and only including good bits to put across one side of
an argument.

Bias is being prejudiced towards one side of an
argument. People may be biased because of religious
beliefs, past experiences or family and friends. They
often only put forward one side of a debate. For
example, John voted for Mrs Brown as his local MP
because she shares the same views on religion as he
does-not because of her political views.
Expertise and experience are not the same thing.
Expertise means specialist skills and training that
gives somebody knowledge that other people dont
have. Experience means knowledge from having
done or encountered something, often over a long
period of time. They can increase credibility but must
be relevant to the argument they are supporting.
You may find evidence given from a police officer, a
doctor, lawyers, teachers or scientists. But experts
are not always neutral so give a biased viewpoint.
Also they may not have as much experience as
someone else, may not be relevant in their
experience and may not be as knowledgeable.
Vested interest means that someone will gain
something from having the argument go their way,
such as money, power, business, reputation etc. or
they may avoid something negative, such as a fine.
However, just because a person is on one side of an
argument and has vested interest doesnt necessarily
make them less credible, for example, if somebody
has a lot to lose from lying they have a vested
interest in telling the truth. You should look at what
side they are on, if they have vested interest and
does it make them less credible.

Ability to perceive is when someone has witnessed
an event, good ability to perceive always increases
credibility. However, a witness account is less
credible if: they didnt see the whole thing, the
conditions at the time reduced their vision, they
were distracted, they were affected by
drugs/alcohol, they were under stress, they have a
medical condition which affects memory, theyve
forgotten some details or they dont understand
what has happened. Having or not having access to
relevant information can also affect their ability to
Reputation is the opinion other people have of you.
If someone has a positive reputation this increases
their credibility, but if they have a negative
reputation it decreases. A persons reputation might
be affected by: their past actions as an individual,
past actions from other members of the same group
or from their career. Even if they are not an expert in
the area, a good reputation can increase credibility.
But just because they acted in one way before
doesnt mean they will again, we may be generalising
people as a group inaccurately, reputation isnt
always fair and relevance is vital
Credibility: a claim is credible if it can be believed,
but even if a claim is plausible, there may be reasons
for you not to believe it. To assess the credibility of
evidence, you must:
-Assess the plausibility, extent and reasonableness
-Give reasons why a particular claim may not be
-Explain how any claims are strengthened or
weakened by credibility criteria (bias, vested
interest, neutrality, expertise, reputation, ability to
perceive and consistency)
-Identify and explain what other information could
be added to reach a judgement about the credibility