The Analysis of Argument-Counterargument Structure in Chinese EFL Learners’ Argumentative Writing

Fangyuan Du


This study aims to analyze argument-counterargument structure of English argumentative essays written by Chinese EFL university students, based on the adapted Toulmin’s (2003) model of the argument structure constituting four elements (i.e. claim, data, counterargument and rebuttal). It also measures whether there is a correlation between the use of counterargument structure and the participants’ overall essay quality assessed by an online AWE (Automated Writing Evaluation) program. Three hundred and ninety students with various majors in a Chinese university submitted their argumentative essays in English online. The results demonstrated that half of the participants developed a one-sided model of argumentation while the other half of them used argument-counterargument structure in their essays. The participants’ use of counterarguments affected the overall quality of their essays. Pedagogical implications of these findings are also discussed.

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Journal of Studies in Education ISSN 2162-6952


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