https://youtu.be/FWoqe60XVFMSix Sentence Argument (6SA) and Rubric
The Six Sentence Argument or 6SA exercise proceeds in two major steps. First, you write an
argument in response to a case. This case confronts you with a decision situation where you are
required to take a stance. You argue for your stance using a structure of exactly six sentences.
Second, you review several 6SAs written by your peers. You evaluate whether their argument is
sound by scoring each sentence against a detailed grading guideline. At the end of the exercise,
you receive the peer reviews of your own 6SA, giving you a quantitative assessment as well as
detailed feedback how your argument was received and evaluated by your peers.
The exercise will help you to achieve two specific learning goals:
1. to be able to express an argument in a logical structure of six sentences
2. to be able to provide detailed and constructive feedback on a six sentence argument
A 6SA is a mini-essay of six sentences that conveys one statement, supports it with one reason,
and heads off one important challenge. A 6SA is written in response to a case that contains a
decision situation (see next section for an example). The structure of a 6SA is strictly pre-defined
and each sentence fulfills a specific function within the whole argument. It is based on the socalled theory of convincing arguments (Toulmin 1958). In the following, the specific function of
each sentence is explained:
1. The introduction presents the topic of the 6SA. You guide your reader to the decision
situation of the case.
2. The position states the course of action you decide to argue for. You can choose any
position as long as it responds to the decision situation.
3. The reason supports the stated position. You need to choose the most compelling reason
you can express in one sentence. One modification: students must reference a scientific
article to support their reason (not included in the word limit).
4. The challenge anticipates a point of criticism that a reader might voice concerning the
reason. The idea is to strengthen your argument by preempting criticism.
5. The rebuttal provides an answer to the challenge, for example by limiting the position to
certain situations. The purpose is to inform your reader that your have weighed the pros
and cons of the position.
6. The conclusion sums up the argument and states the result of your reasoning. It should
rest firmly on the previous sentences and avoid introducing new information.
Review the module at the link below to prepare for the first assignment in your week 2 module:
Below is a rubric for critical review of the 6SA:
Sentence has 20 words or less and is clearly comprehensible. If this
precondition is not fulfilled, the sentence scores zero points.
1. The introduction clearly states the topic of the argument. Can you
answer: What is the argument about?
2. The introduction attracts the reader’s attention in the context of the case.
Can you answer, assuming the role of the recipient in the case: Why should I
1. The position fits the argument’s introduction (#1) Is this a position that
applies to the decision situation established in the introduction (#1)?
2. The position explicitly identifies the actors and objects in the context of
the case. Is it clear who is supposed to do what?
1. The reason explains why the position (#2) is a good choice. Do you
understand why someone might take this position (#2)?
2. The reason is plausible in the context of the case. Do you accept this
reason? If not, why not?
1. The challenge articulates one point of criticism concerning the reason
(#3). Does the anticipated criticism really apply to the supportive reason
2. The challenge identifies a central weakness of the reason that is plausible
in the context of the case. Do you accept this as a central point of criticism?
If not, which other, more important challenge would you suggest?
1. The rebuttal states a response that refutes or qualifies the challenge (#4).
Does the rebuttal apply to the challenge (#4)?
2. The rebuttal is plausible in the context of the case. Do you accept the
rebuttal as sufficient to dismiss the criticism (#4)? If not, why not?
1. Summarizes the argument on the basis of previously presented
information (#1–#5). Does the conclusion avoid introducing new arguments
2. The conclusion reinforces the position and emphasizes its relevance in
the context of the case. Does the conclusion motivate you to follow the
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