Specific questions

How do I use analogies?

By comparing items and drawing conclusions based on their similarities. (See pp 99-100.)

How do I avoid making assumptions in my essays, presentations, and reports?

Do not take the truth of a claim—or its relationship with other claims—for granted; stop and think about what your audiences expect you to do and what they already know. (See pp 7, 11-12, 73-4, 122-7.)

How can I begin to understand the audiences of my arguments and explanations?

Regard your audiences as having certain expectations about what you should say to them and how you should say it, as well as certain background knowledge that directly affects your reasoning. (See pp 63-4, 73-4, 81-6, 122-7.)

What is casting?

Casting is a process of recovering the analytical structure from another author's narrative. (See pp 32-4, 135-49.)

How do I write about causes and effects?

Reasoning from cause requires you to use premises that state the cause(s) of an effect that is expressed in the conclusion. (See pp 95-6, 110.)

What do I need to know about claims in order to use them effectively in planning my reports, essays, and presentations?

You must attend to their key properties and express them precisely. (See pp 11-14, 57-61, 86-7.)

How do I plan complex argument structures?

A complex argument structure is just a series of overlapping, intertwined simple arguments. (See pp 36-8, 53-4, 65-8, 71-4.)

Why is context so important in reasoning effectively?

No argument or explanation (text) is ever written or read in isolation: background (or context)—which includes the expectations, assumptions, and implied concepts of both author and audience—always affects the text. (See pp 11-12, 81-6, 122-4.)

How do I go about using definitions in my work?

Make sure that your definitions are clear and are integrated in the main structure of your reasoning. (See pp 47-8, 57-8, 100.)

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How do I make sure that my essays and presentations go into enough depth to be convincing?

Make sure that you expand the reasons for your conclusion so that they are comprehensive and form a chain of dependent premises. (See pp 40—5, 71—4.)

How are knowledge and reasoning connected?

They are two aspects of the same whole: knowledge is expressed and learnt as reasoning; reasoning utilises and relies on knowledge. (See pp 104-6, 109—13.)

How would I define reasoning, and what can it do for me?

Reasoning is about the relationships between ideas and events; using it helps you to think smart and communicate effectively. (See pp 1-9.)

How can I make sure that I am being relevant?

Make sure that your premises really do say something that supports your conclusion and that your audience understands this connection. (See pp 75-80.)

What do I need to know if I want to use specific cases and general rules in my arguments?

You need to understand the way in which general conclusions can flow from specific cases and how general rules provide the framework for establishing specific conclusions. (See pp 96-9, 108.)

How can I improve the structure and logic of my essays, reports, and presentations?

Use the analytical structure format to plan your work before you begin writing. (See pp 34-6, 128-32.)

Why is the truth (or falsity) of claims so important?

All arguments and explanations are designed to establish the truth of one claim on the basis of other true claims. (See pp 12-13, 61-7.)

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