What is Convince Me?

Many researchers have illustrated the difficulties and challenges that children and adults face with formal and informal reasoning. Convince Me is a "reasoner's workbench" computer program to help students structure, restructure, and assess their knowledge about often controversial situations.

Convince Me guides people to cyclically (1) categorize their own propositions as either evidence or hypotheses, (2) indicate the reliability of their various evidence, (3) connect their propositions with both explanatory and contradictory/competitive links, and (4) rate each proposition's believability. After each (1-4) cycle, users can elicit feedback from a connectionist model, called ECHO, to help improve the coherence of their arguments.

Studies suggest that although the distinguishing characteristics of data and theory are vague--even for experts who study scientific reasoning professionally--Convince Me lends a sophistication to novices' discriminative criteria across contexts, making their epistemic categorizations more expert-like both during, and after, its use.