Several web tools, also known as argument mapping tools, have been developed so far, which apply an organizational and visualization approach based on argument mapping. An argument map is a representation of reasoning in which the evidential relationships among claims are made wholly explicit using graphical or other non-verbal techniques. Argument mapping provides a logical rather than time-based debate representation of users’ contributions. This representation model has proved to provide users with several advantages, such as: i. encouraging evidence-based reasoning and critical thinking; ii. improving the understanding of wide amount of knowledge; iii. driving conversation toward effective deliberation; iv. expanding our capacity to grasp more complex discussions.
Nevertheless those technologies still do not have widespread diffusion and the level of adoption is low.
The aim of my PhD thesis is to investigate new technological solutions to support the adoption of argument mapping tools.
The main barrier to the adoption of mapping tools is the existence of constraints to the conversation that force users to respect pre-established communication formats and rules. Moreover, the literature suggests that the loss of information and feedback during conversation represents another important barrier to the adoption of mapping tools.
Therefore, the loss of immediacy, due to the formalization, coupled with the lack of information about users, interaction processes, and generated content, entails the users a higher cognitive effort and time consuming to learn how to use the tool. This makes the benefit/cost ratio too low for the average user, thus causing limited adoption (Davis, 1989).
To tackle this problem, we propose a Debate dashboard in order to provide users with visual feedback about the interaction between users and the content generated by them. This feedback aims at reducing cognitive efforts and making the benefits associated with using of arguments maps more evident. The dashboard will be composed of visualization tools which deliver such feedback.