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Create approach tree

Design a tree of approaches



Design a tree of approaches


The tree of approaches represents your analysis of the different approaches and is what you will use to draft your analysis and to build off of to make a contribution.


To design a tree of approaches you group the differing approaches along the different milestones just as you did for authors in the synthesis tree.



Approach tree

The approach tree is like a synthesis tree because it is made up of questions and responses that move downward in a coherent chain.  But instead of showing the author's positions it shows the general approaches that group and abstract the author's positions. 

For example, see the following synthesis tree for a debate on wilderness.  Note that not all the elements of the tree correspond to a particular author -- other branches are found by searching, varying and distinguishing increasingly fine-grained positions within an approach.





1. Identify major approaches to the issue.  These cluster of approaches can be at any milestone (see the issue, define the problem, choose a solutions). 

2. Locate the top split.  The top split should be at the earliest milestone where interesting differences start to emerge.  Limit your top split to 2-5 approaches.

3. Build the tree downward by relating different positions that fall within each approach.  Do this by:

  • exploring your notes for different positions
  • think about which approach a position fits into, then think about other positions within the same approach, think about what distinguishes those positions from each other
  • continue in this way building the tree downward and distinguishing different positions



An approach tree


Kaufer, D. S., Geisler, C., & Neuwirth, C. M. (1989). Arguing from sources: Exploring issues through reading and writing. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (p. 212-220).