Investigating and Modelling Rationale Style Arguments

  • Georgina Stubbings

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis investigates how the intended direction (either self or other) and perception of future use when constructing a rationale style argument can impact upon decision confidence and argument quality (in terms of rhetorical structure and the use of rebuttals). The literature review reveals emerging needs for further understanding of how the perception held of intended rationale direction can impact on the attitudes held about the decision and structure of the rationale. Rationale style arguments were the focus of investigation due to their prevalence in research, potentially rich and varied argumentative structures and wide scope of utility in other domains. The findings inform a rationale style argument model that assists in scoping the argument context, adding further dimensions including the intended direction of the rationale (self or other) and argument competency. The thesis proposes two new frameworks that offer a semi-automated solution to argument quality analysis. A good level of agreement between the new quality analysis frameworks and the original Toulmin based quality scheme used was found and the utility of the findings for future feedback tools and online argument analysis is discussed. The new semi-automated frameworks would enable analyses to be carried out rapidly and with less subjective judgement. The work may also have applications for educational tool designs that seek to incorporate argument analysis and feedback on text based arguments.
Date of Award2 Jul 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorPeter Johnson (Supervisor) & Hilary Johnson (Supervisor)

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