SRJC Course Outlines

7/16/2024 3:07:51 AMCOMM 9 Course Outline as of Fall 2021

Changed Course

Discipline and Nbr:  COMM 9Title:  CRITICAL THINK & ARGMNT  
Full Title:  Critical Thinking and Argumentation
Last Reviewed:4/9/2024

UnitsCourse Hours per Week Nbr of WeeksCourse Hours Total
Maximum3.00Lecture Scheduled3.0017.5 max.Lecture Scheduled52.50
Minimum3.00Lab Scheduled05 min.Lab Scheduled0
 Contact DHR0 Contact DHR0
 Contact Total3.00 Contact Total52.50
 Non-contact DHR0 Non-contact DHR Total0

 Total Out of Class Hours:  105.00Total Student Learning Hours: 157.50 

Title 5 Category:  AA Degree Applicable
Grading:  Grade or P/NP
Repeatability:  00 - Two Repeats if Grade was D, F, NC, or NP
Also Listed As: 
Formerly:  SPCH 9

Catalog Description:
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Primary emphasis is on argumentation as the study of analysis, evidence, reasoning, refutation and rebuttal in oral and written communication.  A significant component involves written argumentation with special attention to the essay form.

Completion of ENGL 1A (OR ESL 10) or higher

Recommended Preparation:

Limits on Enrollment:

Schedule of Classes Information
Description: Untitled document
Primary emphasis is on argumentation as the study of analysis, evidence, reasoning, refutation and rebuttal in oral and written communication.  A significant component involves written argumentation with special attention to the essay form.
(Grade or P/NP)

Prerequisites:Completion of ENGL 1A (OR ESL 10) or higher
Limits on Enrollment:
Transfer Credit:CSU;UC.
Repeatability:00 - Two Repeats if Grade was D, F, NC, or NP


Associate Degree:Effective:Fall 1994
Communication and Analytical Thinking
CSU GE:Transfer Area Effective:Inactive:
 A3Critical ThinkingFall 1995
IGETC:Transfer Area Effective:Inactive:
 1BCritical Thinking - English CompositionFall 1995
CSU Transfer:TransferableEffective:Fall 1994Inactive:
UC Transfer:TransferableEffective:Fall 1994Inactive:
 CID Descriptor: COMM 120 Argumentation or Argumentation and Debate SRJC Equivalent Course(s): COMM9 OR COMM3

Certificate/Major Applicable: Both Certificate and Major Applicable


Student Learning Outcomes:
At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:
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1.  Compose argumentative essays that utilize sound reasoning, clear organization and
    evidentiary support.
2.  Engage in debates that demonstrate knowledge of current debate guidelines and strategies.
3.  Analyze and evaluate written and oral arguments in order to identify the premises for each
    conclusion, assess the quality of reasoning, and gauge the sufficiency of proof.

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At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:
1. Develop arguments that support the traditional prima facie elements for propositions of fact,
    value and policy.
2. Apply stock issues analysis when supporting or opposing a resolution.
3. List, explain and apply the techniques of refutation.
4. Identify and utilize the principles of effective and efficient research in preparing arguments to
    support or oppose a debate resolution.
5. Compare and contrast the differences between inductive and deductive reasoning.
6. Compare and contrast different patterns of reasoning including example, analogy, causal and
    sign reasoning.
7. Recognize and identify logical fallacies.
8. Demonstrate the use of outlining to construct cases that support or oppose a debate resolution.
9. Critique a debate, oral and/or written, providing reasons for a decision in accordance with
    accepted evaluation standards.

Topics and Scope
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I. Introduction to the Course
    A. The relationship between argument and critical thinking
    B. The role of critical thinking in life, politics, professions and education
    C. Argumentation and epistemology in the Western rhetorical tradition
    D. The roles and responsibilities of arguers
II. The Nature of Argumentation: From Arguing to Debating
    A. The meaning of argumentation
    B. The basic unit of rhetorical argument:  the enthymeme
    C. The relationship of debate to argumentation
    D. The world of debate
III. The Reasonable Person Model: Addressing our Rational Selves
    A. Defining the "reasonable person"
    B. The parties to a debate
    C. The role of debate in problem solving
    D. The ethics of debate
IV. The Resolution: The Focus of a Debate
    A. The burden of proof
    B. Presumption
    C. The standard of proof
    D. The burden of refutation
V. The Requirements for a Properly Constructed Debate Resolution
    A. One central idea
    B. Controversy
    C. Neutral terminology
    D. The burden of proof properly placed
VI. The Importance of Definitions
    A. Types of definitions
    B. Standards for evaluating competing definitions
VII. Traditional Prima Facie Stock Issue Requirements
    A. Resolutions of fact
    B. Resolutions of value
    C. Resolutions of policy
VIII. Affirmative Strategies in Debate
    A. Needs analysis
    B. Comparative advantage
    C. Alternative justification
    D. Goals/criterion
IX. Negative Strategies in Debate
    A. Topicality
    B. Defense of the status quo
    C. Minor repair
    D. Counter policies
    E. Reliance on presumption
    F. Disadvantages
X. Critical Thinking
    A. The Toulmin Model
    B. Fallacies of reasoning
    C. Syllogisms
    D. Inductive reasoning
    E. Deductive reasoning
    F. Determining valid and invalid arguments
XI. The Role of Research in Support of Claims
    A. The need for evidence
    B. The evaluation of evidence
    C. The application of evidence
    D. Conducting basic research
XII. Evaluating the Debate
    A. The role of the critic
    B. Judging paradigms
    C. Providing constructive feedback

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Assignments will include:
1. Reading 1-2 chapters per week
2. Writing assignments (minimum of 6,000 words) include:
    a. sequential writing on opposing viewpoints
    b. essays emphasizing analysis and evaluation of arguments from a critical viewpoint
    c. formal argumentative term papers that advocate for or against a policy change on a
         significant contemporary issue
3. Skills demonstration consisting of two or three oral debates (in the classroom or via
4. Attendance and class participation
5. Optional field work including critiques of live presentations
6. Exams (2-20):
    a. midterm exam(s)
    b. final exam
    c. quizzes

Methods of Evaluation/Basis of Grade.
Writing: Assessment tools that demonstrate writing skill and/or require students to select, organize and explain ideas in writing.Writing
50 - 60%
Argumentative essays of varying lengths
Problem solving: Assessment tools, other than exams, that demonstrate competence in computational or non-computational problem solving skills.Problem Solving
5 - 10%
Include evaluating syllogisms, identifying fallacies and identifying the problem with (and fixing) incorrectly phrased resolutions
Skill Demonstrations: All skill-based and physical demonstrations used for assessment purposes including skill performance exams.Skill Demonstrations
15 - 25%
Include oral presentations/debates, performance exams
Exams: All forms of formal testing, other than skill performance exams.Exams
15 - 25%
Multiple choice; True/False; Matching; Completions; Essays
Other: Includes any assessment tools that do not logically fit into the above categories.Other Category
5 - 10%
Class attendance and participation in discussions and group exercises

Representative Textbooks and Materials:
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Critical Thinking, Reading and Writing: A Brief Guide to Argument. 9th ed. Barnet, Sylvan and Bedau, Hugo and O'Hara, John. Bedford/St. Martins. 2016
Argumentation and Debate. 13th ed. Freeley, Austin and Steinberg. David. Wadsworth Publishing. 2013
Critical Thinking and Communication: The Use of Reason in Argument. 7th ed.  Inch, Edward and Tudor, Kristen. Pearson. 2013
Critical Thinking Through Debate. 2nd ed.  Nelson, Mark and Corcoran, Joseph. Kendall/Hunt. 2012 (classic)
Argument! 2nd ed. Gooch, John and Seyler, Dorothy. McGraw-Hill. 2012 (classic)
Argumentation and Critical Decision Making. 8th ed. Rieke, Richard and Sillars, Malcolm and Peterson, Tarla. Pearson. 2012 (classic)
Burden of Proof: An Introduction to Argument and Guide to Parliamentary Debate. 4th ed. Crossman, Mark. Thomson Custom Publishing. 2005 (classic)

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