Counter-arguments and support arguments in student writing

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.47750/pegegog.12.01.27

Keywords:

Counter-arguments, support arguments, tagged Language, Coh-Metrix, Gramulator

Abstract

This study analyzes the linguistic features of counter-arguments and support arguments using two computational linguistic tools: Coh-Metrix and Gramulator. The research question investigates whether counter-argument paragraphs and support paragraphs are different in terms of their linguistic features. To conduct this study, a corpus of 78 argumentative papers was collected. The paragraphs in the papers were categorized in terms of their function. The categories included functions of Support, Counter-argument, Expostulation, Counter-argument and Expostulation, Background, and Other. The paragraphs were analyzed for their readability and writing quality through Coh-Metrix. With the exception of the measure of Deep Cohesion, the Coh-Metrix results suggest minimal differences in terms of readability and writing quality between counter-argument and support paragraphs. Following the Coh-Metrix analysis, both counter-argument and support corpora were analyzed through Gramulator for their lexical features. The Gramulator results suggest the presence of causal language, fixed expressions in counterarguments, as well as some tagged language in support arguments.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Philip McCarthy, American University of Sharjah

McCarthy is an Assistant Professor and discourse scientist, specializing in software design and corpus analysis. His major interest is written text, especially the writing of students of English. McCarthy has been a teacher for 30 years, working in locations such as Turkey, Japan, Britain, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates.

Noor Kaddoura, American University of Sharjah

Kaddoura is a graduate student and research assistant. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from the American University of Sharjah. Her research interests include L2 writing issues, argumentation, and the use of marked language.

Ayah Al-Harthy, American University of Sharjah

Al-Harthy is a student of computer science and the lead programmer of Auto-Peer. Her expertise is in Java, C++, Xojo, and Python. She also has expertise in the NetBeans and Visual Studio platforms. Her major interests are game and app development. Her plans are to specialize in NLP gaming.

Nicholas Duran, Arizona State University

Dr. Duran's research is focused on the ways in which complex cognitive processes are revealed in the dynamics of movement and language, both within individuals and across dyads and groups. Major areas of study include deception, perspective-taking, and collaborative problem-solving, as well as the connection between language and action, cognitive dynamics, and natural language processing and corpus analytics.

Khawlah Ahmed, American University of Sharjah

Professor Ahmed has a multidisciplinary academic background in English Education, English Literature, Sociology, TESOL, Computer Management Instruction, and certifications including a NY State Teaching Certification. Her research focuses on theories of teaching, educational technology, curriculum development, and communication. Ahmed has worked for government and public institutions in the US and MENA.

References

Banerjee, S. & Pedersen, T. (2003). The Design, implementation, and use of the ngram statistics package. Computational Linguistics and Intelligent Text Processing. 370-381.

Coirier, P., Andriessen, J., & Chanquoy, L. (1999). From planning to translating: The specificity of argumentative writing. In G. Rijlaarsdam, E. Esperet, J. Andriessen & P. Coirier (Eds.), Foundations of argumentative text processing, (pp. 1-28). Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press.

Crammond, J. G. (1998). The uses and complexity of argument structures in expert and student persuasive writing. Written Communication, 15(2), 230-268.

Crossley, S. A., Greenfield, J., & McNamara, D. S. (2008). Assessing text readability using cognitively based indices. TESOL Quarterly, 42(3), 475–493.

Crossley, S. A., Louwerse, M. M., McCarthy, P. M., & McNamara, D. S. (2007). A Linguistic Analysis of Simplified and Authentic Texts. The Modern Language Journal, 91(1), 15–30.

Crossley, S. A., Salsbury, T., & McNamara, D. S. (2009). Measuring L2 lexical growth using hypernymic relationships. Language Learning, 59, 307-334.

Darling-Hammond, L., Flook, L., Cook-Harvey, C., Barron, B. & Osher, D. (2020). Implications for educational practice of the science of learning and development. Applied Developmental Science, 24(2), 97-140.

Duran, N. D., McCarthy, P. M, Graesser, A. C., & McNamara, D. S., (2006). Using Coh-Metrix temporal indices to predict psychological measures of time. In R. Sun & N. Miyake (Eds.). Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 190-195). Texas: Cognitive Science Society.

Ferretti, R. P., MacArthur, C. A., & Dowdy, N. S. (2000). The effects of an elaborated goal on the persuasive writing of students with learning disabilities and their normally achieving peers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(4), 694–702.

Friedersdorf, C. (2017, June 26). The Best Way to Disagree Is to Take on Your Political Opponents' Strongest Arguments. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/the-highest-form-of-disagreement/531597/

George Mason University. All about counterarguments. Retrieved from https://writingcenter.gmu.edu/guides/all-about-counterarguments

Harvard University. Strategies for essay writing: Counterarguments. Retrieved from https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/counter-argument

Hass, R. G., & Linder, D. E. (1972). Counterargument availability and the effects of message structure on persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 23(2), 219–233.

Johnson, R. H. (2002). Manifest rationality: A pragmatic theory of argument. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Kamimura, T. (1996). Composing in Japanese as a first language and English as a foreign language: A study of narrative writing. RELC Journal, 27(1), 47–69.

Kim, J., & Lim, K., (2019). A comparative analysis of Koreans’ English writings and Google translations using Coh-Metrix 3.0. Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics, 19(3), 452–474.

Knudson, R. E. (1992). The development of written argumentation: An analysis and comparison of argumentative writing. Child Study Journal, 22(3), 167–84.

Kuhn, D. (1991). The skills of argument. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kuhn, D. (2005). Education for thinking. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Lam, Y. W., Hew, K. F., & Chiu, K. F. (2018). Improving argumentative writing: Effects of a blended learning approach and gamification. Language learning & technology, 22(1), 97-118.

Leitao, S. (2003). Evaluating and selecting counterarguments. Written Communication, 20, 269-306.

Lewandowsky, S., Ecker, U. K. H., Seifert, C. M., Schwarz, N., & Cook, J. (2012). Misinformation and Its Correction. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13(3), 106–131.

McCarthy, P.M., Al-Harthy, A., Buck, R.H., Ahmed, K., Duran, N.D., Thomas, A.M., Kaddoura, N.W., & Graesser, A.C. (2021a). Introducing Auto-Peer: A computational tool designed to provide automated feedback. Asian ESP Journal. 17, 9-43.

McCarthy, P.M., Kaddoura, N.W., Buck, R.H., Thomas, A.M., Ahmed, K., Al-Harthy, A., & Duran, N.D. (2021b). Metadiscourse and counterargument integration in student argumentative papers. English Language Journal, 14(6), 96-113.

McCarthy, P. M., Lehenbauer, B. M., Hall, C., Duran, N. D., Fujiwara, Y., & McNamara, D. S. (2007). A Coh-Metrix analysis of discourse variation in the texts of Japanese, American, and British scientists. Foreign Languages for Specific Purposes, 6, 46-77.

McCarthy, P. M., Watanabe, S., & Lamkin, T. A. (2012). The Gramulator: A tool to identify differential linguistic features of correlative text types. In P.M. McCarthy, C. Boonthum-Denecke (Eds.). Applied Natural Language Processing: Identification, investigation, and resolution (pp. 312–333). Pennsylvania: IGI Global Publications

McCarthy, P.M., & Ahmed, K. (2021). Writing the research paper: Multicultural perspectives for writing in English as a Second Language. London: Bloomsbury.

McNamara, D. S., Crossley, S. A., & McCarthy, P. M. (2009). Linguistic features of writing quality. Written Communication, 27(1), 57–86.

McNamara, D. S., Graesser, A. C., McCarthy, P. M., & Cai, Z. (2014). Automated evaluation of text and discourse with Coh-Metrix. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McNamara, D. S., Louwerse, M. M., McCarthy, P. M., & Graesser, A. C. (2010). Coh-Metrix: Capturing linguistic features of cohesion. Discourse Processes, 47(4), 292–330.

McNamara, D. S., Ozuru, Y., Graesser, A. C., & Louwerse, M. (2006). Validating Coh-Metrix. In R. Sun, & N. Miyake (Eds.), Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 573-578). Texas: Cognitive Science Society.

Min, H. & McCarthy, P. M. (2013). Contrastive corpus analysis on the writing of American and Korean scientists using Gramulator. Linguistic Research, 49, 681-702.

National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). The nation’s report card: Writing 2011 (NCES 2012- 470). Institute for Education Sciences, U.S: Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

Nussbaum, E. M. (2008). Using argumentation vee diagrams (AVDs) for promoting argument-counterargument integration in reflective writing. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(3), 549–565.

Nussbaum, E. M., & Schraw, G. (2007). Promoting argument-counterargument integration in students' writing. Journal of Experimental Education, 76(1), 59–92.

Nussbaum, E., & Kardash, C. (2005). The effects of goal instructions and text on the generation of counterarguments during writing. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(2), 157-169.

O'Keefe, D. J. (1999). How to handle opposing arguments in persuasive messages: A meta-analytic review of the effects of one-sided and two-sided messages. Communication Yearbook, 22(1), 209-249.

Perkins, D. N. (1985). Postprimary education has little impact on informal reasoning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 77, 562-571.

Perkins, D. N., Farady, M., & Bushey, B. (1991). Everyday reasoning and the roots of intelligence. In J. F. Voss, D. N. Perkins, & J. W. Segal (Eds.), Informal reasoning and education (pp. 83-106). Ney Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Pollock, J. L. (1987). Defeasible reasoning. Cognitive Science, 11, 481-518.

Qin, J., & Karabacak, E. (2010). The analysis of Toulmin elements in Chinese EFL university argumentative writing. System, 38(3), 444-456.

Rothery, J. (1996). Making changes: developing an educational linguistics. In R. Hasan, & G. Williams (Eds.), Literacy in society (pp. 86-123). Boston: Addison Wesley.

Rottenberg, A. T. (1988). Elements of argument. Ney York: St. Martin’s Press.

Rufenacht, R. M., McCarthy, P. M., & Lamkin, T. A. (2011). Fairy tales and ESL texts: An analysis of linguistic features using the Gramulator. Cross-disciplinary advances in Applied Natural Language Processing, 273–283.

Rusfandi. (2015). Argument-counterargument structure in Indonesian EFL learners' English argumentative essays: A dialogic concept of writing. RELC Journal, 46(2), 181-197.

Ryu, J., & Jeon, M. (2020). An analysis of text difficulty across grades in Korean middle school English textbooks using Coh-Metrix. The Journal of AsiaTEFL, 17(3), 921–936.

Schleppegrell, M. J. (2004). The language of schooling: A functional linguistics perspective. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Shehab, H., & Nussbaum, E. (2015). Cognitive load of critical thinking strategies. Learning and Instruction, 35, 51-61.

Simon, D., & Holyoak, K. J. (2002). Structural dynamics of cognition: From consistency theories to constraint satisfaction. Personality and Social Psychology, 6, 283-294.

Stanovich, K. E., & West, R. F. (2008). On the failure of cognitive ability to predict myside and one-sided thinking biases. Thinking and Reasoning, 14(2), 129-167.

Stapleton, P. (2001). Assessing critical thinking in the writing of Japanese university students. Written Communication, 18(4), 506–548.

Sweller, J., Ayres, P., & Kalyuga, S. (2011). Cognitive load theory. Springer Publishing.

Talisse, R., & Aikin, S. F. (2006). Two forms of the straw man. Argumentation, 20(3), 345–352.

Thapa, D.K., Visentin, D.C., Hunt, G.E., Watson, R., & Cleary, M. (2020). Being honest with causal language in writing for publication. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 76(6), 1285-1288.

The University of Arizona. Writing a counterargument paragraph. Retrieved from https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/counterargument

The University of North Carolina. Argument. Retrieved from https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/argument/

Toplak, M., & Stanovich, K. (2003). Associations between myside bias on an informal reasoning task and amount of post-secondary education. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 17(7), 851-860.

Toulmin, S. (1958). The uses of argument. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Toulmin, S., Rieke, R., & Janik, A. (1979). An introduction to reasoning. New York: Macmillan.

University of Nevada, Reno. Counterarguments. Retrieved from https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/counterarguments

Wen, X., McCarthy, P.M., & Strain, A.C. (2013). A Gramulator analysis of gendered language in cable news reportage. Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth International Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society Conference. Menlo Park, California: Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

Wolfe, C. R., & Britt, M. A. (2008). The locus of the myside bias in written argumentation. Thinking & Reasoning, 14, 1-27.

Wolfe, C. R., Widmer, C. L., Torrese, C. V., & Dandignac, M. (2018). A method for automatically analyzing intelligent tutoring system dialogues with Coh-Metrix. Journal of Learning Analytics, 5(3), 222–234.

Wolfersberger, M. (2003). L1 to L2 writing process and strategy transfer: A look at lower proficiency writers. Teaching English as a Second Language-Electronic Journal, 7(2), 1–13.

Yeh, S. (1998). Empowering education: Teaching argumentative writing to cultural minority middle school students. Research in the Teaching of English, 33(1), 49-83.

Downloads

Published

2022-01-02

How to Cite

McCarthy, P. ., Kaddoura, N., Al-Harthy, A., Thomas, A., Duran, nicholas, & Ahmed, K. (2022). Counter-arguments and support arguments in student writing. Pegem Journal of Education and Instruction, 12(1), 256–271. https://doi.org/10.47750/pegegog.12.01.27