Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in English



First Advisor

Robert Schwegler


This dissertation describes an investigation of the practice of teaching argumentation in the undergraduate composition classroom in large part by examining a corpus consisting of 16 commonly used argumentation textbooks with publication dates from 2010 to 2014. The purpose of this project is to help advance the teaching of written argumentation by examining how it is defined, justified, and taught via textbooks, by ranking the textbooks on a 1-3 sliding scale according to how well the lesson plans within them are equipped to teach students how to write arguments according to what the authors and publishers describe as the ideal argument.

This study is conducted in two phases: The first is a process in which the textbooks are categorized into one of three types, or uses, of argumentation (academic/professional, advocacy, or exploration). The second phase is the evaluation of two chapters in each book to see how well the activities in them are developed as to help student learn to write the classified argument. The final chapter of this dissertation contains recommendations that can be adapted by future textbooks authors, editors, and publishers, recommendations that involve developing books that more clearly identify with one or more of the three categories making up this taxonomy, as well as adding sections that teach students to use a stasis-mapping formula to evaluate existing, as well as to create new, arguments.



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