Argument Mapping & Logical Writing: Constructing well-justified, high impact arguments

Argument Mapping and Logical writing is an in-depth examination of the structure of reasoning and how to clearly articulate the justification for an assessment.

Communicating Reasoning

It’s often difficult to succinctly present the argument for a conclusion. However, many arguments are needlessly verbose or confusingly structured because the author is unsure how to explain the logic of their reasoning.

Participants in this course will learn how to analyse reasoning structure and to distinguish between the different types of arguments used in analysis. A deeper and richer understanding of the structure of argumentation makes it easier to present rigorous reasoning concisely.

Research-based training methodology

The course uses a training methodology called argument mapping. It has been established as one of the best ways to teach reasoning skills through extensive research, including a course developed by the instructor, Ashley Barnett, and other experts for an IARPA research project. An argument map is a way of visually representing the structure of the reasoning for an assessment.

The course uses specialist argument mapping software, called Rationale, developed by the Hunt Lab director, Tim van Gelder, at the University of Melbourne. Argument mapping helps overcome cognitive limitations which can inhibit our analysis and evaluation of reasoning, and so can help people develop a deeper understanding of the reasoning that they read and write. By learning how to map arguments, participants will gain a better understanding of how arguments work and will be better equipped to formulate and clearly communicate their reasoning. Argument maps are useful for drafting, presenting, and reviewing arguments. And they can also be used to keep track of a debate, to help make sure all participants are on the same page.


The course covers the following topics:

1: Logical inferences.
What makes an inference logical or illogical and how can we tell the difference.
2: Argument mapping.
How to diagram the structure of an argument so we have a comprehensive understanding of its components, how it is supposed to work, and what’s missing.
3: Identifying unstated assumptions.
What are the best techniques for determine what is being assumed and left unsaid by an argument.
4: Reasoning about uncertainty.
How to think more probabilistically and make more nuanced judgements.
5: Abstraction and the organisation of ideas
How to arrange reasons and arguments into a comprehensible order.
6: Types of reasoning.
How do different types of arguments work, such as inference to the best explanation and forecasts based on weighing causal drivers.
7: Presenting reasoning.
How to order, connect, and signpost reasoning so it easy for the reader or listener to follow.


Ashley Barnett
Intelligence Training Lead & Researcher, Hunt Lab
Ashley Barnett is a philosopher at the Hunt Laboratory for Intelligence Research. He has over 10 years’ experience developing and delivering critical thinking training for intelligence agencies around the world. As part of a research project for the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), he formulated a method of reasoning evaluation called the Reasoning Stress Test. In collaboration with the Australian Intelligence Community, the Reasoning Stress Test has been developed into a training program for intelligence managers that is run multiple times a year. His current research focuses on deception and the nature of reasoning in intelligence analysis, especially how analysts compare alternative explanations.

What People are Saying

“Excellent course, really enjoyed learning how to think in different ways and also learning some very useful skills that will save you time in analysis.”
“The training helped me look at topics with a different lens.”
“This course takes you on a journey through the key facets of logic and reasoning, and you arrive with an enhanced understanding of how to analyse arguments for validity.”
“Expect to learn about how to strengthen your assessments by mapping out how you got there, including acknowledging the assumptions which could change your assessments.”


Contact us to learn more or to book Hunt Lab experts to run this course at your organisation. We are also open to discussing collaborating on developing a tailored course to suit your organisation’s needs.