Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1573-9775
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1236


Do argumentation schemes play a part in the critical processing of argumentation by laymen? In a qualitative study participants had to formulate strong and weak arguments for a given claim and to rank a list of given arguments in quality. In interviews they were asked to motivate their opinions on the quality of the arguments. The study dealt with five argumentation schemes: argumentation from authority, from example, from analogy, from cause to effect and from consequences. Laymen criteria for argument quality were inferred from interview protocols. Results show a combination of general criteria from informal logic (such as relevance, acceptability, comprehensibility) and scheme-specific criteria (such as expertise for argumentation from authority, comparability for argumentation from analogy, effectiveness for argumentation from consequences). The results support the conventional validity of such criteria and clarify the continuum from peripheral to central processing in the Elaboration Likelihood Model: more and cognitively more demanding heuristics are used in central processing than in peripheral processing.


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