Although students in any course are normally expected to reason in a logical manner, courses emphasizing this capability will include a significant component in which students self-consciously reflect on the forms of reasoning and their properties. Logical reasoning can be either deductive or inductive in nature, the key difference being that in the latter case conclusions are not understood to follow necessarily from given premises. Courses that emphasize this capability teach students to:
- recognize or construct formally valid forms of deductive argument
- identify elements that increase or decrease the cogency of inductive arguments
- detect logical fallacies
- make formally correct arguments.
Deductive arguments include syllogisms and arguments by contradiction; forms of inductive reasoning include statistical inference and argument by analogy. Education in logical argumentation should involve oral or written exercises evaluated for analytical coherence as well as content, and so would require more than the uncritical application of given formulas, algorithms, or computer programs.