Asking the Right Questions Worksheet

Use this worksheet to guide your argument and shape your position.
Try your issue out on all of them.

1. Use the question form below to generate questions you can ask to establish that your issue exists.

Does it— a situation, a set of beliefs, events, a phenomena— exist? Is it true?
Where does it come from? How did it start?
What is its cause?
Can it be changed?

Example: I believe that marijuana should be legally distributed to patients suffering from debilitating or terminal illnesses.

Does marijuana have a medical use?
How do we know that it does? Where did we get the information? Is it legally used medicinally now? Where and how?
What prompted people to legalize its use in this way?
Can we change laws regarding medical marijuana?

2. Use these questions to define your issue. This will help you figure out where your view fits into others.
What kind of thing is it?
To what larger class of things or events does it belong?
What are its parts? How are they related?

Marijuana is an illegal drug with few side affects compare to opiates.
Medical marijuana is marijuana used to alleviate physical pain, change mental state, reduce nausea and encourage appetite in
the seriously ill.
It is part of a class of legitimately prescribed drugs?
The parts prescribing medical marijuana are: physicians who determine a patient has a legitimate use, distribution centers, centers
for growing it, means to monitor prescriptions, local, state or federal officials that monitor use, continued research on the use of medical

3. Here are questions to help you decide what you might argue on the issue.
Is it a good or a bad thing?
Should it be sought or avoided?
Is it right or wrong?
Is it honourable or dishonourable?

Is it better or worse than something else?
Is it more or less desirable than any alternatives?
Is it more or less right than something else?
Is it more or less wrong than something else?
Is it more or less honourable than something else?
Is it more or less base than something else?

I might ask the following on the example of medical marijuana.

If marijuana is an effective treatment for certain symptoms, should it be offered to patients or should we avoid classifying it as medical as well as illegal?

Is it less harmful than other alternatives?

Is it honorable to put the needs of these patients above the need to enforce current drug laws?

Is it dishonorable to provide these patients with a treatment?

4. Restate your issue as a question:

Is it preferable to classify marijuana as an illegal drug, as we do now, or to create a class of medical marijuana and an infrastructure
to handle the category?

More specific:

Should we continue to classify marijuana only as an illegal drug when it has clear that it is an effective treatment for specific illnesses, has
few lasting side effects and is relatively inexpensive when compared to other prescription drugs?

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License