Argument Maps and Documenting Debates

I almost forgot about IBIS till I stumbled across this link today. Here is the IBIS process:

Initially, the general area in which the problem lies is identified. Within this area issues are identified through discussion, and each is recorded as a question. Possible answers to the question are identified as positions, which may begin as general points of view of individual participants but are crystalised into a clearly defined statements, which are noted. At this point the participants express arguments in favour of or against a position, and these are also recorded. The unravelling of the issues in this fashion may be enough that an answer on which all the participants agree is found – in which case everybody can go home. However, if this is not the case then the positions and arguments are re-examined, and wherever possible treated as issues themselves, and the decomposition cycle repeated.

So here are some thoughts:

  1. What if we used this approach to discuss about the problems of entrepreneurs? It will give our discussions some structure. Each participant in the discussion can bring up an issue and we can start mapping and discussing issues.
  2. We can use some of the argument mapping tools ( one possible candidate is Debatepedia)
  3. This may provide a bit more of structured interaction than some of the sessions we had during the recent un-conference. One of the complaints I heard at the event,  was that some discussions were hijacked and moved farther away from the original topic.
  4. I think we all need to train to focus on issues when we are discussing, but it is something that may come only with practice.
  5. To me the most attractive aspect of this discussion is the ability to walk away with an argument map of issues to think about.

Tell me what you think. Should we give it a try at the next small group unstructured meet?

Related Resources:

The Ontology of Rhetorical Blocks: A formalization of the coarse-grained rhetorical structure of scientific publications.

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6 thoughts on “Argument Maps and Documenting Debates

  1. I felt this is a basic method and a blog post is required to convince people on this made me to have those feelings. I am jus saying what I am feeling.

  2. Oh. So you are saying that you are surprised that people need to be told that they need to have structured arguments and debates? I am just trying to understand.

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