Argument Mapping
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Argument mapping is producing “boxes and arrows” diagrams of reasoning, especially complex arguments and debates. Argument mapping improves our ability to articulate, comprehend and communicate reasoning, thereby promoting critical thinking.

Argument Mapping Tutorials from Austhink
Argument mapping is using graphical methods to display the structure of reasoning and argumentation.  The technique is essential for advanced critical thinking.  Without mapping, it is very hard to be clear about the structure of evidence; and without such clarity, critical responses usually misfire.  These six extensive tutorials cover the fundamentals of argument mapping, from elementary inferences through to the most complex arguments.  Each tutorial contains concepts, principles, and vocabulary; a quiz; and exercises with model answers.

Can Computers Think?
Website for the classic series of maps on whether computers can think.

Robert Horn
Website of one of the pioneers of argument mapping. Contains links to many maps.

Austhink Argument Mapping
Argument mapping page at the website of the Austhink, leaders in the application of argument mapping in education and in professional contexts.

Visualizing Argumentation: Software Tools for Collaborative and Educational Sense-Making by Paul A. Kirschner,
Simon J. Buckingham Shum and Chad S. Carr (Eds)
Important new volume on argument mapping, from Springer-Verlag.  Probably the first book on the topic; contains contributions from many leading players in the field.  This website contains many resources and links beyond what is found in the book. [23 Nov 02]

Dialog Mapping page of CogNexus Institute
Dialog is a close cousin of argument mapping.

Using Maps to Compose Research Papers
A simple online powerpoint presentation discussing producing argument maps for use in preparing to write research papers. Worth a quick look.


Beyond Words – Bob Holmes, New Scientist
Good overview of visual language and argument mapping, focusing mostly on Bob Horn’s work.

Mapping the Future of Argument by Paul Monk, which appeared in the Australian Financial Review
Broad historical/philosophical overview of argument mapping and its place in human intellectual development.

Enhancing our Grasp of Complex Arguments by Paul Monk and Tim van Gelder
An overview of the use of argument mapping to augment our capacity to handle complex reasoning and argumentation, and to improve deliberative judgment. This paper was presented by Paul Monk as a plenaryaddress to the 2004 Fenner Conference on the Environment, Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, 24 May 2004. [15 June 04]

Discussion of the use of argument maps in teaching philosophy in the online journal Psyche.

Argument Maps Improve Critical Thinking, by Charles Twardy.
“Computer-based argument mapping greatly enhances student critical thinking, more than tripling absolute gains made by other methods. I describe the method and my experience as an outsider. Argument mapping often showed precisely how students were erring (for example: confusing helping premises for separate reasons), making it much easier for them to fix their errors.” [5 Jun 03]

The IBIS Manual: A Short Course in IBIS Methodology by Jeff Conklin?
Short guide to IBIS, a method for helping groups think their way through “wicked” problems (e.g., should the US invade Iraq?). “IBIS (pronounced “eye-bis”) stands for Issue-Based Information System, and was developed by Horst Rittel and colleagues during the early 1970’s. IBIS was developed to provide a simple yet formal structure for the discussion and exploration of “wicked” problems….The purpose of this manual is to explain the rules of the IBIS method, to convey a sense of the power, simplicity, and ease of use of the method and, most importantly, to give the reader confidence that he or she can use the IBIS method to sharpen and organize the exploration of virtually any topic.” [11 Feb 03]

Some of Philosophy’s Next Problems by Robert Horn (powerpoint)
Expansive discussion of how we think and how we represent what we think, and their interaction.  Argument mapping and much more. [22 Jan 04]

GlobalArgument.Net is an experiment to evaluate different Computer-Supported Argumentation approaches: both the technologies, and the ‘craft skill’ of using them effectively. Our two-fold objectives are to: showcase how complex debates of topical interest can be more effectively communicated, navigated and analysed when mapped in software tools; and advance the state of the art in practical argumentation support tools. Players participate in Argumentation Experiments, working to an agreed schedule and from common sources. Through systematic comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of approaches, we aim to clarify how approaches can be improved. [20 Apr 05]


By far the best software for general argument mapping.  Supports three modes: simple hierarchical structuring of ideas, basic argument mapping, and “analysis,” which enables construction of diagrams properly representing the complexity of real-world reasoning.  [23 Jul 06]

The precursor to Rationale, now superseded.  Reason!Able guides and scaffolds users in reasoning about any topic.

“Araucaria is a software tool for analysing arguments. It aids a user in reconstructing and diagramming an argument using a simple point-and-click interface…” [26 Apr 02]

Argument mapping software. “The Athena software is designed to support analysis and production of reasoning and argumentation by students in higher education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.” [19 Jun 02]

Compendium is a software package supporting IBIS-based dialog mapping.  Not really argument mapping, but closely related, and this is the best tool of its kind. [11 Feb 03]

Software-based package for critical thinking in schools.  Includes simple a argument mapping tool, a process, and a guidebook. [25 Jul 05]


Debate Mapper
Peter Baldwin’s web tool for collective mapping of complex debates.  “DebateMapper (patent pending) is a new software application designed to help address this problem. Fully web-enabled, it allows global communities of users to collaborate in building and evaluating large-scale diagrammatic representations, termed Argument Maps, of the structure of complex controversies. Such maps can be filtered and sorted in different ways, and the basic argumentative elements evaluated by a user community. Each user can create and store Selective views reflecting different assumptions. By using recent web and database technologies, DebateMapper can support very large and complex map structures.”  [6 Sep 04]

An online collaborative argument mapping system. “ is a free tool that provides a focused, rational method for adversarial discussion (patent pending) that overcomes the limitations of standard message boards, e-mail and even conversation; it is a site for persons who believe that reasoning should be at the heart of public debate.” [16 Aug 05]

Email Lists

Email discussion forum for people interested in the theory and practice of argument mapping.

“What is not new: The purpose of the group is to explore arguments for and against the existence of God. What IS New: To then use this information to construct formalised argument maps (or diagrams) showing how all the different arguments fit together.”

VIMS – QuestMap-Dialog Mapping Discussion Forum
“This discussion space is for questions, ideas, stories, experiences, concerns, and insights about the collaborative tools of IBIS, QuestMap, and Dialog Mapping. It is intended primarily for graduates of the Dialog Mapping workshop, although anyone is welcome to participate. I hope that this group will encourage public experimentation and learning with these tools.”

“This is a general mailing list for news and discussion of interest to Compendium Institute members.” May also be of interest to non-members. According to one member, “It’s pretty light traffic at present and most of the discussion is about the Compendium tool itself, but that could change.” Sign up to stay in the loop. [4 Nov 03]

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