The Scientific Argumentation Routine

"Scientific Argumentation Routine manual cover photo"

Teachers use the Scientific Argumentation Routine to help students think critically about a science claim, decide on the strength of the evidence, and explain the reasoning to accept or reject the claim.

The use of argumentation is supported by two routines –the Scientific Argumentation Routine (SAR) and the Cross Curricular Argumentation Routine (CCAR). Students whose teachers used the SAR had significantly higher overall test scores than students in the comparison condition with large effect sizes. Differences between mean pretest and post-test/> scores were 50% larger in the 7th grade experimental group, and almost twice as large for the 8th and 9th grade students compared to students in the comparison condition. Research data from the SAR provided support for the development of the CCAR; research is ongoing across different content areas.

Author(s): Janis A. Bulgren, James D. Ellis

Publication Info: University of Kansas, 2015

The Scientific Argumentation Routine guidebook is available in the KUCRL online store. Professional development is recommended, see the SIM Event page for sessions.



  • Rowland, A., Craig-Hare, J., Ault, M., Ellis, J., & Bulgren, J. (2017). Social media: How the next generation can practice argumentation. Educational Media International, 3987(August), 1– 13.
  • The argumentation and evaluation guide: encouraging NGSS-based critical thinking.(TEACHER'S TOOLKIT) Science Scope, 2015, Vol.38(7), p.78 [Peer Reviewed Journal] Bulgren, Janis ; Ellis, James.
  • The Effectiveness of Reason Racer, a Game Designed to Engage Middle School Students in Scientific Argumentation Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 01 January 2015, Vol.47(1), p.21-40 [Peer Reviewed Journal] Ault, Marilyn ; Craig-Hare, Jana ; Frey, Bruce ; Ellis, James D. ; Bulgren, Janis.
  • The Use and Effectiveness of an Argumentation and Evaluation Intervention in Science Classes Journal of Science Education and Technology, 2014, Vol.23(1), pp.82-97 [Peer Reviewed Journal] Bulgren, Janis ; Ellis, James ; Marquis, Janet.