A case study of argument diagramming in Thai and Indonesian higher education argumentative essays

Annisa Laura Maretha, Intan Pradita


This study explores first-year undergraduate students’ argumentation essays using argument diagramming structure. A corpus-driven data of 394 argumentative essays were gathered from both Indonesian and Thai universities. A content analysis was employed to examine the dataset of the students’ argumentative essays. After gathering primary information from the body parts of their essays, we subcategorized their argumentations into claims and premises in a compliant reading. To ensure data trustworthiness, this study employed triangulation by source and method. The findings show that the most prominent type of argument diagramming was a basic argument, followed by convergent and divergent arguments. Regardless of how the argument diagramming was written, the study found that the students still lacked mastery in structuring their logic when building up the case to be extended to claims and premises. This study suggests a need to revisit pedagogical instructions, in which there should be a provision not only on the basic knowledge of argument structures but also on the skills to recognize the quality of a good argument cognitively. This additional practice will provide important insights to recognize the representational strengths and weaknesses of the students’ argumentative writing proficiency to achieve a better performance in the content of their essays.


argument diagramming; argumentative writing; EFL students; essay

Full Text:



Abadiano, H. R. (1995). Cohesion strategies and genre in expository prose: An analysis of the writing of children of ethnolinguistic cultural groups. Pragmatics, 5(3), 299-324. https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.5.3.02aba

Ahmed, A. (2010). Students’ problems with cohesion and coherence in EFL essay writing in Egypt: Different perspectives. Literacy Information and Computer Education Journal, 1(4), 211-221. https://doi.org/10.20533/licej.2040.2589.2010.0030

Aldridge, J. M., Fraser, B., Taylor, P. C., & Chen, C.-C. (2000). Constructivist learning environments in a cross-national study in Taiwan and Australia. International Journal of Science Education, 22(1), 37-55. https://doi.org/10.1080/095006900289994

Altinmakas, D., & Bayyurt, Y. (2019). An exploratory study on factors influencing undergraduate students’ academic writing practices in Turkey. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 37, 88-103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2018.11.006

Andriessen, J., Baker, M., & Suthers, D. (2003). Arguing to learn: Confronting cognitions in computer-supported collaborative learning environments. Kluwer Academic.

Bacha, N. N. (2010). Teaching the academic argument in a university EFL environment. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 9(3), 229-241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2010.05.001

Bazerman, C. (1988). Shaping written knowledge. The University of Wisconsin Press.

Cekiso, M., Tshotsho, B., & Somniso, M. (2016). Exploring first-year university students’ challenges with coherence writing strategies in essay writing in a South African university. International Journal of Educational Sciences, 12(3), 241-246. https://doi.org/10.1080/09751122.2016.11890431

Celce-Murcia, M., & Olshtain, E. (2000). Discourse and context in language teaching: A guide for language teachers. Cambridge University Press.

Chandrasegaran, A. (2008). NNS students’ arguments in English: Observations in formal and informal contexts. Journal of Second Language Writing, 17(4), 237-254. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2008.04.003

Chin, C., & Osborne, J. (2010). Supporting argumentation through students’ questions: Case studies in science classrooms. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 19(2), 230-284. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508400903530036

Chryssafidou, E. (2014). Argument diagramming and planning cognition in argumentative writing [Doctoral dissertation, University of Birmingham]. UBIRA ETheses. http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/5048

Coirier, P., & Golder, C. (1993). Writing argumentative text: A developmental study of the acquisition of supporting structures. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 8(2), 169-181. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03173160

Golder, C., & Coirier, P. (1994). Argumentative text writing: Developmental trends. Discourse Processes, 18(2), 187-210. https://doi.org/10.1080/01638539409544891

Hammad, A. E. (2013). Palestinian EFL university-level students’ use of writing strategies in relation to their EFL writing strategies in relation to their EFL writing performance. Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research, 3(10), 214-223.

Hankemans, A. F. S. (2000). State of the art: The structure of argumentation. Argumentation, 14(4), 447-473. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007800305762

Harrell, M., & Wetzel, D. (2015). Using argument diagramming to teach critical thinking in a first-year writing course. In M. Davies & R. Barnett (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of critical thinking in higher education (pp. 213-232). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137378057_14

Harris, G. J., & Cunningham, H. D. (1994). The Simon and Schuster guide to writing. Prentice Hall.

Hyland, K., & Hyland, F. (2006). Feedback on second language students’ writing. Language Teaching, 39(02), 83-101. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444806003399

Jackson, S. (2002). Designing argumentation protocols for the classroom. In F. H. van Eemeren (Ed.), Advances in pragma-dialectics (pp. 105-120). SicSat.

Johns, A. M. (2017). Augmenting argumentation in second language writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 36, 79-80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2017.05.005

Krippendorff, K. (1989). Content analysis. In E. Barnouw, G. Gerbner, W. Schramm, T. L. Worth, & L. Gross (Eds.), International encyclopedia of communication (Vol. 1, pp. 403-407). Oxford University Press. http://repository.upenn.edu/asc_papers/226

Liu, X. (2013). Evaluation in Chinese university EFL students’ English argumentative writing: An APPRAISAL study. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 10(1), 40-53.

Lubis, A. H. (2020). The argumentation structure of research article ‘findings and discussion’ sections written by non-native English speaker novice writers: A case of Indonesian undergraduate students. Asian Englishes, 22(2), 143-162. https://doi.org/10.1080/13488678.2019.1669300

Mei, W. S. (2007). The use of engagement resources in high- and low-rated undergraduate geography essays. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 6(3), 254-271. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2007.09.006

Mercer, N. (2005). Sociocultural discourse analysis: Analysing classroom talk as a social mode of thinking. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1, 137-168.

Morton, J., & Storch, N. (2019). Developing an authorial voice in PhD multilingual student writing: The reader’s perspective. Journal of Second Language Writing, 43, 15-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2018.02.004

Nejmaoui, N. (2018). Improving EFL learners’ critical thinking skills in argumentative writing. English Language Teaching, 12(1), 98-109. http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v12n1p98

Nussbaum, E. M. (2008). Collaborative discourse, argumentation, and learning: Preface and literature review. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33(3), 345-359. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2008.06.001

Okada, A., & Shum, S. B. (2008). Evidence-based dialogue maps as a research tool to investigate the quality of school pupils’ scientific argumentation. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 31(3), 291-315. https://doi.org/10.1080/17437270802417184

Philippakos, Z. A. T., & MacArthur, C. A. (2019). Writing strategy instruction for low‐skilled postsecondary students. In D. Perin (Ed.), The Wiley handbook of adult literacy (pp. 495-515). John Wiley & Sons. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119261407.ch23

Phuket, P. R. N., & Othman, N. B. (2015). Understanding EFL students’ errors in writing. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(32), 99-106.

Qaddumi, M. (1995). Textual deviation and coherence problems in the writings of Arab students at the University of Bahrain: Sources and solutions [Doctoral dissertation, University of Nottingham]. Nottingham eTheses. https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/11212/

Reddy, A. L. M. F., & Pradita, I. (2022). Appraisals analysis on the argumentation structure of Indonesian undergraduate students’ research articles. IALLTEACH: Issues in Applied Linguistics & Language Teaching, 4(1), 97-106. http://dx.doi.org/10.37253/iallteach.v4i1.6711

Rusfandi. (2015). Argument-counterargument structure in Indonesian EFL learners’ English argumentative essays: A dialogic concept of writing. RELC Journal, 46(2), 181-197. https://doi.org/10.1177/0033688215587607

Schafersman, S. D. (1991, January). An introduction to critical thinking. Retrieved on June 14, 2021 from https://facultycenter.ischool.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Critical-Thinking.pdf

Stab, C., & Gurevych, I. (2017). Parsing argumentation structures in persuasive essays. Computational Linguistics, 43(3), 619-659. https://doi.org/10.1162/COLI_a_00295

Stapleton, P. (2001). Assessing critical thinking in the writing of Japanese university students: Insights about assumptions and content familiarity. Written Communication, 18(4), 506-548. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088301018004004

Stapleton, P. (2017). Ability to argue: Rooted in nature. Journal of Second Language Writing, 36, 83-84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2017.05.007

Suthers, D. D., Toth, E., & Weiner, A. (1997). An integrated approach to implementing collaborative inquiry in the classroom. In R. Hall, N. Miyake, & N. Enyedy (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Computer Support for Collaborative Learning (pp. 275-282). International Society of the Learning Sciences. https://doi.org/10.3115/1599773.1599807

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Harvard University Press.

Wray, A. (2012). What do we (think we) know about formulaic language? An evaluation of the current state of play. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 32, 231-254. https://doi.org/10.1017/S026719051200013X

DOI: https://doi.org/10.24815/siele.v11i1.30418

Article Metrics

Abstract view : 0 times
PDF - 0 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Print ISSN: 2355-2794, Online ISSN: 2461-0275

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

View Journal Stats