In this article we explore issues in developing an Argument Catalogue as a tool to compile evidence systematically on a topic of interest. A recent review is used to illustrate the steps in undertaking the development of an Argument Catalogue from multiple sources. An Argument Catalogue codebook, which provides categories and values that can be applied in order to classify conjectures, opinions, concerns and expert judgements, is also developed. Arguments are then compared and contrasted in two different ways: by quantifying the predictor and outcome variables described and by summarising qualitatively the major messages in each document.
The preparation of this article was aided by grants from the Canadian Council on Learning, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Government of Canada), and the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture. The authors are solely responsible for the content of the article.
We acknowledge, with appreciation, the excellent work of Evgueni Borokhovski, Rana Tamim, Mike Surkes, Gretchen Lowerison, Iolie Nicolaidou, Dai Zhang, Lori Wozney, Sherry Newman and Anna Peretiatkovicz, in the conduct of the research that is described in this article. Thanks are also extended to Richard Schmid, Hannah Rothstein and John Lavis for their critical reading of the typescript and their useful suggestions.
Earlier versions of this article were presented at the Fourth Symposium of the Canadian Cochrane Collaboration, Montreal, Quebec, 2 December 2005 and the Fifth International Campbell Collaboration Colloquium, Los Angeles, California, 24 February 2006.