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Reasoning

Reasoning  has to do with reasons - why do people write or say what they do? Therefore, reasoning is very closely tied to arguments, as the arguments of a text are what make up the text's line of reasoning. Thus, the line of reasoning is both used to structure the arguments in a text and is also what comes out of the arguments applied in a text.

As a university student, it is important that you are able to both follow your sources' line of reasoning and consistently apply a convincing line of reasoning in your own assignments.


Critical analysis of peoples reasons can involve

  • Identifying their reasons and conclusions
  • Analyzing how they select, combine and order reasons to construct a line of reasoning
  • Evaluating whether their reasons support the conclusions they draw
  • Evaluating whether their reasons are well-founded, based on good evidence
  • Identifying flaws in their reasoning

From Cottrell "Critical Thinking" (2011)

The scientific foundation

In an academic context, it is also important to be aware of your sources' scientific foundation when examining their line of reasoning. A text may have a lot of implicit arguments and underlying assumptions that form the basis of their line of reasoning.

When you detect this scientific foundation, you are able to discuss their arguments in a more qualified way, and this lies at the very heart of being an academic.

To familiarize yourself with the concept of reasoning in relation to your own assignments, Toulmin's argumentation model may be useful. You can read more about Toulmin's model and use the exercise to ensure that you have a substantial line of reasoning in your assignment on Aarhus University's Studypedia.

In this video, Associate Professor at ITU, Gitte Stald, explains what is required for a paper to be acceptable in an academic context:


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