The Toulmin Model in Brief

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					The Toulmin Model
     in Brief
 “The heart of moral experience does
 not lie in a mastery of general rules
  and theoretical principles, however
     sound and well reasoned those
  principles may appear. It is located
   rather, in the wisdom that comes
   from seeing how the ideas behind
 those rules work out in the course of
   people's lives: in particular, seeing
   more exactly what is involved in
 insisting on (or waiving) this or that
      rule in one or another set of
A popular form of argument is the Toulmin
This model is named after Stephen Toulmin,
  who in The Uses of Argument proposed that
  every good argument has six parts. The first
  three parts are essential to all argument. They
  include: 1) the claim, 2) the data or support,
  and 3) the warrant. Arguments may also
  contain one or more of three additional
  elements: 4) the backing, 5) the rebuttal, and
  6) the qualifier.
The claim is the main point (thesis) of the
• Plan a claim by asking, “What do I want to
  prove?” Your response is your claim.
• Like a thesis, the claim can either be explicit or
  implicit. Whether it is implied or explicitly stated,
  the claim organizes the entire argument, and
  everything else in the argument is related to it.
  The best way to check your claim during revision
  is by completing this statement: “I have
  convinced my audience to think that . . .”
Data supplies the evidence, opinions, reasoning, examples, and factual
   information about the claim that make it possible for the reader to accept
Synonyms for data are proof, evidence and reasons.
To plan support, ask, “What information do I need to supply to convince my
   audience of my main point (claim).
Common types of support include:
1) facts and statistics
2) opinions (authorities and personal). When using personal opinion, it
   should be convincing, original, impressive and interesting and backed by
   factual knowledge, experience, good reasoning and judgment.
 When revising your argument, to help you focus on and recognize the
   support, complete this sentence: “I want my audience to believe that . . .
   [the claim] because . . . [list the support].”
 Warrants are the assumptions, general principles, the
  conventions of specific disciplines, widely held values,
  commonly accepted beliefs, and appeals to human
  motives that are an important part of any argument.
 Warrants originate with the arguer, but also exist in the
  minds of the audience.
 Warrants represent the psychology of an argument in
  that they reveal the unspoken beliefs and values of the
  author and invite the reader to examine his /her own
  beliefs and make comparisons.
Types: Motivational/Authoritative/Substantive
Backing is additional evidence provided to
  support or “back up” a warrant whenever there
  is a strong possibility that your audience will
  reject it.
When reviewing your argument to determine
  whether backing is needed, identify the warrant
  and then determine whether or not you accept
  it. If you do not, try to anticipate additional
  information that would make it more
A rebuttal establishes what is wrong, invalid, or
  unacceptable about an argument and may also present
  counterarguments, or new arguments that represent
  entirely different perspectives or points of view on the
Plan a rebuttal by asking, “what are the other possible
  views on this issue?” and “how can I answer them?
Phrases that introduce refutation include, “some may
  disagree,” “others may think,” or “other commonly
  held opinions are,” followed by the opposing ideas.
• An argument is not expected to demonstrate
  certainties. Instead, it usually only establishes
  probabilities. Therefore, avoid presenting
  information as absolutes or certainties.
  Qualify what you say with phrases such as
  “very likely,” “probably,” “it seems,” and
Claim: The Vikings will win the Superbowl
 next year.
Question: What are you basing that claim on?
Data: They have the best defense in the
Question: Why does the fact they have the best
 defense lead you to believe that the team with
 the best defense will win?
Warrant: The team with the best defense
 won the last five years.
Claim: The senior year of high school should be
  eliminated and replaced with college/work
  apprenticeships/technical school education.
• What am I basing this claim on?
Data: Seniors are unmotivated, more likely to drop out
  of school, have met the state standards for graduation.
• Why does the fact that they are unmotivated lead you
  to believe they are ready for college or career focused
  further education?
Warrant: Students in the PSEOP program report more
  meaningful education experiences and are more likely
  to successfully complete college/technical
  school/apprenticeships and enter the work force.

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