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Approaches to Argumentative Discourse


Admission Requirements



It seems to be characteristic for Western societies that public debate has become highly polarized in the last decade. If one wants to take a critical stance with regard to the various debate positions, it is necessary to possess at least some knowledge of argumentation. In this seminar we will study the current state of argumentation theory and discuss its latest insights. Argumentation theory offers the analytical tools for the identification, analysis and evaluation of argumentative discourse. However, it depends on the particular theoretical approach what these tools amount to and how specific they are. By addressing some central themes within the study of argumentation, we will assess the differences between the most leading theoretical approaches. As a result, you will become a skilled analyst of argumentative discourse in various settings.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students are able to:
1. Report, both orally and in writing, on the state of the art in argumentation studies;
2. Draft a research question that is based on a literature review and examine this question in a systematic and methodologically sound way;
3. Report, both orally and in writing, on their own research on an issue that is pertinent to argumentation studies;
4. Lead a class discussion and provide constructive feed back to the presentations and papers of fellow students.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method


Presentations: 20%
Participation: 10%
Paper: 70%
Your paper should be 5.5 or higher.
The weighted average of your grades should be 5.5 or higher.


See assessment.


There is one resit opportunity for the final version of the paper; there is no resit for the other assessment components.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

A list of readings will be provided on Brightspace and at the first meeting; please check blackboard for how to prepare for the first meeting.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Please contact Student administration van Wijkplaats for questions.

The coordinator of studies is Else van Dijk