Simple Guide on Method of Reasoning Questions

Simple Guide on Method of Reasoning Questions

The takeaways
  • The focus of this question is on identifying argument structure and technique, rather than analyzing the content.
  • We do not care about the strength (or weakness) of the argument!
  • Often, a method of reasoning question will either involve two distinct voices (one argument and one rebuttal) where you are meant to describe the rebuttal’s method, OR a single author argument where you identify the author’s method.

Intro to Method of Reasoning

This blog is a part of the “Approach Question Type” series and like all articles in this series will focus on step 4 of the “Analyze Stimulus” step. If you need a refresher on how to approach LR questions generally, make sure to check up on our blog "How to Approach the Logical Reasoning Section.”

Table of Contents:

  • What is a Method of Reasoning Question?
  • Common Methods
  • 4-Step Approach
  • Example Question

What is a Method of Reasoning Question?

In the Logical Reasoning section of the LSAT, a "method of reasoning" question asks you to identify how an argument is constructed. It may ask you to identify the role of a single statement or describe the argument’s method as a whole. These questions focus on the structure and technique of the argument rather than its content. To answer these questions correctly, you need to understand how the premises support the conclusion and how the author uses evidence and reasoning to make their point.

The structure of a method of reasoning question will either be one of these two:

1) Two distinct voices. One argument, one counterargument. The task is to analyze the technique of the counterargument.

2) One voice argument. Analyze the method of reasoning of the author.

Question stem examples

Method of reasoning questions typically include phrases like:

  • "The argument proceeds by..."
  • “X responds to Y’s argument by doing which of the following?”
  • "The argument employs which one of the following argumentative strategies?"
  • "The argument does which one of the following?"
  • "Which one of the following most accurately describes the method of reasoning?"

Approach: Common Methods

Our goal here is not to be in favor of any side of the argument or to be critical of why the author chose X approach to arrive at their conclusion. If the stimulus contains two distinct voices, we need to be unbiased and not support either side of the argument.

A method of reasoning question asks us to be descriptive; we need to figure out, objectively, what is occurring in the argument, regardless of whether the technique or method is a valid or well-supported reason. 

Really, a method question is just asking us to figure out, what tactic(s) this person uses to try and convince us. Did they cite sources and evidence, or use metaphors and comparisons? Did they make use of causal conditional logic, or did they make assumptions and generalizations?

Below is a list of some common methods of logic to make an argument. This list is not exhaustive, and some questions may take certain elements from multiple methods.

  1. Using an Analogy or Parallel Reasoning: The argument draws a comparison between two similar situations or cases to support the conclusion.
    • Example: "The argument draws a conclusion about one case by comparing it to another case."
  2. Statistical Reasoning & Interpreting Data: Analyzing numerical data, percentages, or statistical claims.
    • Example: The argument draws a conclusion by citing sample surveys or experimental data.
  3. Generalization: The argument makes a broad conclusion based on specific instances or examples.
    • Example: "The argument draws a general conclusion from specific examples."
  4. Cause and Effect: The argument asserts that one event or condition causes another.
    • Example: "The argument concludes that one event is the result of another event."
  5. Appeal to Authority: The argument cites an expert or authoritative source to support its conclusion.
    • Example: "The argument supports its conclusion by citing an authority."
  6. Eliminating Alternatives: The argument rules out other possible explanations or options to support its conclusion.
    • Example: "The argument concludes by eliminating other possible explanations."
  7. Using a Counterexample: The argument presents an example that contradicts a generalization or rule to undermine it.
    • Example: "The argument undermines a generalization by providing a counterexample."
  8. Using a Principle: The argument applies a general principle or rule to a specific case to draw a conclusion.
    • Example: "The argument applies a general principle to a specific situation."
  9. Drawing a Distinction: The argument differentiates between two things to make a point.
    • Example: "The argument draws a distinction between two concepts."
  10. Making an Assumption or Inference: The argument relies on an unstated premise or assumption to reach its conclusion.
    • Example: "The argument relies on an assumption that is not explicitly stated."
  11. Using Conditional Reasoning: The argument involves if-then statements to support its conclusion.
    • Example: "The argument uses conditional statements to establish a relationship between events."
  12. Addressing a Counterargument: The argument anticipates and responds to a potential objection or opposing view.
    • Example: "The argument addresses a potential counterargument to strengthen its position."

Did you notice that some of these methods of reasoning are actually flawed ways of making an argument? For example, we see “Appeal to Authority” as a possible flawed method in our guide "Simple Guide on Flaw Questions." Indeed, if used as the sole piece of evidence to try and guarantee our conclusion, it would be a flaw. Of course, we can still use appeals to authority as a method to supplement our argument. Remember, we are not trying to make the argument in the stimulus valid— we are simply describing the method, and that method can be a flawed one!

4-Step Approach

  1. Read the stimulus and identify the arguments
    • Are there two distinct voices, an argument and a rebuttal? Or is one author’s argument laid out?
  2. Identify the Premises and Conclusions
    • How does the rebuttal argument connect to the first argument? 
    • Be clear of the logical flow of the premises to the counterargument’s conclusion.
  3. Analyze the Method
    • Is it a common method of reasoning that you remember from our list? If there is a flaw in the argument, is the counterargument pointing it out? 
    • Be DESCRIPTIVE! Do NOT attempt to add new information or go outside of the stimulus. Be objective and unbiased.
    • The method can be a flawed or poorly supported method.
  4. Answers Pass Through
    • When you pass through the answers, soft-eliminate any that make you go “Huh?” as if the explanation makes no sense or is super out of context (“Method” answers often have choices that sound super off out of context).
    • ANSWER MUST Happen in the Stimulus. The right answer is something that happens in the stimulus and needs to be relevant.
    • You MUST be sure that the answer choice you choose factually exists and happens in the stimulus.

Example Question


Tom: Implementing a four-day workweek would significantly increase worker productivity by 10x for all businesses. Studies have shown that employees are more focused and efficient when they have more time to rest and recharge. Additionally, companies that have tried the four-day workweek report higher employee satisfaction and lower turnover rates.

Sara: Your conclusion about the four-day workweek is overly optimistic. While it may lead to increased productivity for some workers, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. For instance, businesses in customer service or industries requiring constant coverage may struggle with scheduling and maintaining service levels. Furthermore, the initial productivity boost may diminish over time as workers adjust to the new schedule.


Sara responds to Tom's argument by

(A) providing an alternative explanation for the same phenomenon Tom describes.

(B) presenting a counterexample to challenge the generalization in Tom's argument.

(C) disputing the reliability of the studies Tom cites.

(D) questioning the conclusion by suggesting that Tom's solution might not be feasible for all types of businesses.

(E) agreeing with Tom's premises but arguing that they do not support his conclusion.


(D) questioning the conclusion by suggesting that Tom's solution might not be feasible for all types of businesses.

Sara acknowledges that the four-day workweek might increase productivity for some workers but argues that it is not universally applicable, particularly for businesses that require constant coverage. Sara believes Tom's conclusion goes beyond the evidence because he does not take into account that his solution might not be feasible for all types of businesses.

Wrong Choices:

(A) — Sara does not provide her own explanation

(B) — This answer choice is similar to (A); Sara however does not bring up her own counterexamples, but simply addresses Tom’s premises and assumptions

(C) — Sara does not question Tom’s evidence. We have no idea how reliable the studies are.

(E) — This one is a tricky one! It may seem like because Sara is arguing that Tom’s conclusion is overly optimistic Sara is arguing that the evidence Tom cites does not support his conclusion. But we’re going to be extra careful about the wording here. Sara argues Tom is going too overboard with his conclusion (10x increase, really?). The evidence still might support his conclusion to some degree, or maybe the conclusion just needs to be dialed down a bit (which is what Sara suggests in the answer).

Further Practice

To better understand the common method of reasoning arguments, make a few of your own! Go down the list and use each method to make an example argument yourself to understand how the structure of each technique works. (Just like we did for the flaw questions approach). Putting yourself in the shoes of the question-makers will force you to understand the question type at a fundamental level. 

If you’d like to practice more method LSAT questions, you can also filter out and drill only method of reasoning questions directly on AdeptLR’s platform. 

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