These observations lead us to the following three tips:

Tip 1. Always fairly and accurately represent the claims made in any argument you attempt to analyze. This means you actually need to address claims made in the original argument when analyzing it.

Tip 2. Don't let your conclusions stand alone! Always provide at least one reason or illustrative example to support any claim you make in your own argument. This means give a reason or reasons why any important claim made in your argument analysis is actually true. While you do not need to provide reasons for general knowledge (like Saturday follows Friday), you do need to provide reasons to accept claims which are central to any point you wish to make. For example, in the above counter argument, at least one reason (or illustrative example) should be given to support the claim that there are other ways things can be known which are not scientific.

Tip 3. When considering an argument think about additional reasons which might support the given conclusion and reasons which might not support the given conclusion. Did the author of the original argument include these? If you are arguing against the original, point out these omissions. If you are arguing for the original, point out the absence of such omissions, or offer more evidence.

In what follows we offer several other steps one can take when analyzing an argument. They can be considered in any order and used singly or all at once. Many of these steps will be new to some, and the vocabulary terms presented might have different meanings than what you might be used to, so review them carefully and take notes.