The Role of Argumentation in Hypothetico-Deductive Reasoning During Problem-Based Learning in Medical Education: A Conceptual Framework

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Hyunjung Ju
Ikseon Choi


One of the important goals of problem-based learning (PBL) in medical education is to enhance medical students’ clinical reasoning—hypothetico-deductive reasoning (HDR) in particular—through small group discussions. However, few studies have focused on explicit strategies for promoting students’ HDR during group discussions in PBL. This paper proposes a novel conceptual framework that integrates Toulmin’s argumentation model (1958) into Barrows’s HDR process (1994). This framework explains the structure of argumentation (a claim, data, and a warrant) contextualized in each phase of HDR during PBL. This paper suggests four instructional strategies—understanding argument structures, questioning, elaborating on structural knowledge, and assessing argumentation—for promoting medical students’ argumentation in relation to HDR processes. Further implications of the proposed framework for other disciplines, such as science, legal, and engineering education, are also discussed.

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