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Smart thinking

Analytical Structure Notes

To clearly express arguments / explan­ations need to think carefully about analytical structure
Can be tricky to simult­ane­ously write a narrative flow and reason at same time. So need to plan work.
Planning can be done using the analytical structure format, getting good at this will make reasoning clearer and improve quality and readab­ility of oral and written work.
Before starting anywhere near narrative flow start thinking about structure and logical connec­tions between ideas.

Scope and Certainty

Size of the claim
Stating Numbers (all, most, some, many etc)
Geogra­phical area (Brisbane, Aus, etc)
and/or Time (always, never, sometimes)
Claimed probab­ility (highly likely, virtually, some chance)
Be realistic with use of these because incorrect scope or certainty will make it easy to argue against your reasoning.

Descri­ptive and value claims

Say things should or should be a certain way
Sometimes value is stated sometimes implied (hidden in tone and words)
Many, maybe all claims have value judgement
Things are or have been a certain way
Smart thinkers are alert to value judgem­ents.

Links between claims

Linking words are words which link the claims together, indicating the premises and the conclu­sions. They are hints of the mental process of linking.

Importance of internal connec­tions

Need to evaluate reasoning, ensure all claims stand without needing further support or arguments, add new premises / sub arguments as necessary until argument is fully formed and reader can some to same conclusion without needing to seek out further inform­ation or not have whole story.
Do not assume readers know already anything in relation to your argument
Ensure ideas within claims are introduced and supported

Five types of reasoning

premises state the cause, and conclusion is effect
shows how knowledge about general class of events allows us to make a conclusion about a specific event in that class
Specific cases
Specific cases lead to a conclusion
Draw a specific conclusion from specific premises via a comparison of like aspects
Some claims establish a definition or a particular meaning in a given context

Analytical structure steps

1. Decide conclu­sion. Write out carefully explaining exactly what you mean
2. Think about reasons for conclusion
Write them down as claims
Keep related premises together if possible
Everything must relate back to the conclusion
Claims need to make sense as own entity
Number your claims from 2 onward (concl­usion is 1)
Focus on your main reasons for concusion
3. Draw diagram to show links between claims
Links to show how constr­ucted
Line under groups of premises
Arrow to show premise to conclusion
4. Stop and Consider
Do I need anymore premises?
Am I missing any claims?
Are relati­onships how I want them?
5. Make changes and re-draw if nessessary
Important things to remember:
- Each claim must stand on own
- Do not include signals of reasoning in claims
- Each claim must imply links to other claims
- Do not be afraid to revise and rewrite.


Particular type of statement
Assert some kind of “truth” about the world
May actually be true or false
Expresses belief or view about how world is or should be
If you can ask “Is this true or false” it is a claim

Drawing analytical structure

Narrative flow = words arranged into sentences and then divided into paragraphs
Analytical structure = List of claims and a diagram of how they relate to one another
Linking words repres­ented by the + signs
Horizontal line groups the claims
Offers advantages
Clear way of constr­ucting claims
How they relate to eachother
Avoids vagueness
• Make claims own entity and so defeats complex sentence formations
• Clarifies intere­sting writing to get to the premises and solutions
Can construct or decons­truct
After constr­uction next step = add linking to create narrative flow
We need to see content and structure of reasoning to smarten own thinking.

Four levels of language

A sentence can be made up of more than one statement
Group of related statements
Elements outside text to make it meanin­gful.


Influence every argument / explan­ation. Values / ideas we take for granted. Smart thinkers recognise assump­tions that surround us (including own)
Assump­tions can be dangerous because they are not tested to see if they are correct.

Conclu­sions and premises

Premise = claim that acts as reason
Conclusion = claim that is being supported
In reasoning, there is therefore always at least two claims (premise and conclu­sion)
Fundam­ental skill of reasoning to be able to identify these in other peoples claims and own
When reasoning – first choose a conclusion
Conclusion is not summary, but new statement
Supports and gives a bit further inform­ation than the premises
Truth of conclusion is clear because of premises
Conclu­sions can be: Predic­tions, Appeals to action, Events in past
Any claim can work as a premise
Has to support conclusion
Usually initially more acceptable than conclusion
May make a point, define a term, frame other premises

Analytical Structure Diagram

Check your reasoning

No circular reasoning
Accurate scope and certainty accurate
Avoid sweeping genera­lis­ations
Value judgements in conclusion need more than one premise, premises must support value judgement
Consider surface and hidden meanings of words
Align choice of words with audience
Consider possible interp­ret­ations
No implied premises, if possible should be stated
Claims which have connec­tions to the conclusion are relevant. Claims which have no connection to the conclusion are irrele­vant.
Dont assume people will fill in the gaps
Think about context
Well founded claim has a number of good premises
Person with burden of proof needs a stronger argument


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