Conclusion

Notice that in all of the above steps, not a single one starts first by examining the actual truth or falsity of the premises – which is normally the first (and perhaps only) method that beginning learners use when starting to analyze an argument. Instead many of our methods focus on the nature of the inference and what follows if we assume the premises are actually true.

Finally we state last which should be stated perhaps first, as it is as important as any of the tips we offer above:

 

Final tip: One should decide the reasonableness of a given conclusion in light of all available arguments. It is bad reasoning to decide beforehand whether you accept an argument's conclusion before careful consideration of arguments for and against and the relevant evidence.

 

In closing we remind the reader that the above steps are not exhaustive. There are many more ways one can analyze an argument (for example, the very powerful method of argument by analogy or the role of definitions in argument analysis), and much more could be said about the actual steps that we have outlined. But when learning something new, it is best to start out with small steps and then move onward, and hopefully the steps presented here accomplish that task.