4.1 The recipe: first and second step
The recipe starts at level 0 where you find the main claim.
First step: Identify the main claim. First, try to find the main claim. The main claim is the overall point or conclusion that the author of the text is making. The text presents information that directly or indirectly supports or opposes the main claim. The main claim can be explicit or implicit:
- If the main claim is explicit, one or more of the statements in the text put this claim forward.
- If it is implicit, you will need to infer the main claim that the author is trying to get across. Once you have inferred the implicit claim, state it in your own words.
Once you have identified the statement(s) that make the main claim, or you’ve stated the implicit main claim in your own words, you can start the argument map. Place the main claim in the top level oval, as shown in Figure 12.
Now, proceed to the next level. Since you started at level 0, the next level is level 1.
Second step: Find text supporting and/or opposing the claim(s) found at the previous level. Now, you need to find parts of the text that directly oppose or support the claim at the previous level. Read the text from the beginning to the end. For each statement, ask yourself the question ‘Does it support or oppose the claim at the previous level?’ Add these claims to your map and connect them, using the oppose or support relationship, to a claim at the previous level.