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Organizing Your Argument
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This page summarizes three historical methods for argumentation, providing structural templates for each.
How can I effectively present my argument?
In order for your argument to be persuasive, it must use an organizational structure that the audience perceives as both logical and easy to parse. Three argumentative methods —the Toulmin Method , Classical Method , and Rogerian Method — give guidance for how to organize the points in an argument.
Note that these are only three of the most popular models for organizing an argument. Alternatives exist. Be sure to consult your instructor and/or defer to your assignment’s directions if you’re unsure which to use (if any).
The Toulmin Method is a formula that allows writers to build a sturdy logical foundation for their arguments. First proposed by author Stephen Toulmin in The Uses of Argument (1958), the Toulmin Method emphasizes building a thorough support structure for each of an argument's key claims.
The basic format for the Toulmin Method is as follows:
Claim: In this section, you explain your overall thesis on the subject. In other words, you make your main argument.
Data (Grounds): You should use evidence to support the claim. In other words, provide the reader with facts that prove your argument is strong.
Warrant (Bridge): In this section, you explain why or how your data supports the claim. As a result, the underlying assumption that you build your argument on is grounded in reason.
Backing (Foundation): Here, you provide any additional logic or reasoning that may be necessary to support the warrant.
Counterclaim: You should anticipate a counterclaim that negates the main points in your argument. Don't avoid arguments that oppose your own. Instead, become familiar with the opposing perspective. If you respond to counterclaims, you appear unbiased (and, therefore, you earn the respect of your readers). You may even want to include several counterclaims to show that you have thoroughly researched the topic.
Rebuttal: In this section, you incorporate your own evidence that disagrees with the counterclaim. It is essential to include a thorough warrant or bridge to strengthen your essay’s argument. If you present data to your audience without explaining how it supports your thesis, your readers may not make a connection between the two, or they may draw different conclusions.
Example of the Toulmin Method:
Claim: Hybrid cars are an effective strategy to fight pollution.
Data1: Driving a private car is a typical citizen's most air-polluting activity.
Warrant 1: Due to the fact that cars are the largest source of private (as opposed to industrial) air pollution, switching to hybrid cars should have an impact on fighting pollution.
Data 2: Each vehicle produced is going to stay on the road for roughly 12 to 15 years.
Warrant 2: Cars generally have a long lifespan, meaning that the decision to switch to a hybrid car will make a long-term impact on pollution levels.
Data 3: Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine with a battery-powered electric motor.
Warrant 3: The combination of these technologies produces less pollution.
Counterclaim: Instead of focusing on cars, which still encourages an inefficient culture of driving even as it cuts down on pollution, the nation should focus on building and encouraging the use of mass transit systems.
Rebuttal: While mass transit is an idea that should be encouraged, it is not feasible in many rural and suburban areas, or for people who must commute to work. Thus, hybrid cars are a better solution for much of the nation's population.
The Rogerian Method (named for, but not developed by, influential American psychotherapist Carl R. Rogers) is a popular method for controversial issues. This strategy seeks to find a common ground between parties by making the audience understand perspectives that stretch beyond (or even run counter to) the writer’s position. Moreso than other methods, it places an emphasis on reiterating an opponent's argument to his or her satisfaction. The persuasive power of the Rogerian Method lies in its ability to define the terms of the argument in such a way that:
- your position seems like a reasonable compromise.
- you seem compassionate and empathetic.
The basic format of the Rogerian Method is as follows:
Introduction: Introduce the issue to the audience, striving to remain as objective as possible.
Opposing View : Explain the other side’s position in an unbiased way. When you discuss the counterargument without judgement, the opposing side can see how you do not directly dismiss perspectives which conflict with your stance.
Statement of Validity (Understanding): This section discusses how you acknowledge how the other side’s points can be valid under certain circumstances. You identify how and why their perspective makes sense in a specific context, but still present your own argument.
Statement of Your Position: By this point, you have demonstrated that you understand the other side’s viewpoint. In this section, you explain your own stance.
Statement of Contexts : Explore scenarios in which your position has merit. When you explain how your argument is most appropriate for certain contexts, the reader can recognize that you acknowledge the multiple ways to view the complex issue.
Statement of Benefits: You should conclude by explaining to the opposing side why they would benefit from accepting your position. By explaining the advantages of your argument, you close on a positive note without completely dismissing the other side’s perspective.
Example of the Rogerian Method:
Introduction: The issue of whether children should wear school uniforms is subject to some debate.
Opposing View: Some parents think that requiring children to wear uniforms is best.
Statement of Validity (Understanding): Those parents who support uniforms argue that, when all students wear the same uniform, the students can develop a unified sense of school pride and inclusiveness.
Statement of Your Position : Students should not be required to wear school uniforms. Mandatory uniforms would forbid choices that allow students to be creative and express themselves through clothing.
Statement of Contexts: However, even if uniforms might hypothetically promote inclusivity, in most real-life contexts, administrators can use uniform policies to enforce conformity. Students should have the option to explore their identity through clothing without the fear of being ostracized.
Statement of Benefits: Though both sides seek to promote students' best interests, students should not be required to wear school uniforms. By giving students freedom over their choice, students can explore their self-identity by choosing how to present themselves to their peers.
The Classical Method of structuring an argument is another common way to organize your points. Originally devised by the Greek philosopher Aristotle (and then later developed by Roman thinkers like Cicero and Quintilian), classical arguments tend to focus on issues of definition and the careful application of evidence. Thus, the underlying assumption of classical argumentation is that, when all parties understand the issue perfectly, the correct course of action will be clear.
The basic format of the Classical Method is as follows:
Introduction (Exordium): Introduce the issue and explain its significance. You should also establish your credibility and the topic’s legitimacy.
Statement of Background (Narratio): Present vital contextual or historical information to the audience to further their understanding of the issue. By doing so, you provide the reader with a working knowledge about the topic independent of your own stance.
Proposition (Propositio): After you provide the reader with contextual knowledge, you are ready to state your claims which relate to the information you have provided previously. This section outlines your major points for the reader.
Proof (Confirmatio): You should explain your reasons and evidence to the reader. Be sure to thoroughly justify your reasons. In this section, if necessary, you can provide supplementary evidence and subpoints.
Refutation (Refuatio): In this section, you address anticipated counterarguments that disagree with your thesis. Though you acknowledge the other side’s perspective, it is important to prove why your stance is more logical.
Conclusion (Peroratio): You should summarize your main points. The conclusion also caters to the reader’s emotions and values. The use of pathos here makes the reader more inclined to consider your argument.
Example of the Classical Method:
Introduction (Exordium): Millions of workers are paid a set hourly wage nationwide. The federal minimum wage is standardized to protect workers from being paid too little. Research points to many viewpoints on how much to pay these workers. Some families cannot afford to support their households on the current wages provided for performing a minimum wage job .
Statement of Background (Narratio): Currently, millions of American workers struggle to make ends meet on a minimum wage. This puts a strain on workers’ personal and professional lives. Some work multiple jobs to provide for their families.
Proposition (Propositio): The current federal minimum wage should be increased to better accommodate millions of overworked Americans. By raising the minimum wage, workers can spend more time cultivating their livelihoods.
Proof (Confirmatio): According to the United States Department of Labor, 80.4 million Americans work for an hourly wage, but nearly 1.3 million receive wages less than the federal minimum. The pay raise will alleviate the stress of these workers. Their lives would benefit from this raise because it affects multiple areas of their lives.
Refutation (Refuatio): There is some evidence that raising the federal wage might increase the cost of living. However, other evidence contradicts this or suggests that the increase would not be great. Additionally, worries about a cost of living increase must be balanced with the benefits of providing necessary funds to millions of hardworking Americans.
Conclusion (Peroratio): If the federal minimum wage was raised, many workers could alleviate some of their financial burdens. As a result, their emotional wellbeing would improve overall. Though some argue that the cost of living could increase, the benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks.
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Toulmin Essay Outline With Examples: How to Write
If you are a college student, you have surely faced different tasks. Some of them are more complicated, others less, but the only thing that unites them is the necessity to follow the requirements. Considering specific types, genres, and academic writing methods , it is inevitable to pay due attention to the Toulmin model essay as an innovative way to analyze the information and express your ideas on the topic.
Basically, the Toulmin format is quite simple, as it is concentrated on building strong arguments that correspond to logical patterns. Consequently, students get an opportunity to emphasize their ideas in the most professional and impressive way. This technique is the most commonly used for argumentative essays, but it can sometimes be applied to comparison papers and other similar assignments.
If you look through several Toulmin argument essay examples , you will be excited to notice a tendency: the texts are based on the evidence and counter-arguments. Additionally, it is necessary to mention that every paper should include six basic components that have been originally specified by the philosopher Stephen Toulmin.
Toulmin Essay Outline: Parts to Be Included
Primarily to the beginning of the writing process, you should analyze the topic. If you have ever come across the Toulmin model example essay, you could have noticed that it starts with the outline . As a student, you know that an excellent plan is halfway to success. Therefore, start with the extended outline , which can sometimes be a part of your writing assignment.
There are different approaches to this part of the process, so you can choose the most suitable and preferable one. No matter if you choose the graphical or word format, it should be short, logical, and concise. Additionally, when following the Toulmin outline examples, you should mention three parts of the paper:
- Introduction. Irrespective of the writing approach you choose, a quality introduction may help you succeed with the task. It is indispensable to take into account the Toulmin model template, starting your outline with the claim. Besides, a catchy hook and a concise Toulmin thesis are necessary.
- Body. Working on the outline , you should not write extended sentences. Instead, mention the key ideas you will use to present desired facts. In these paragraphs, pay due attention to the Toulmin argument structure, which is the basis for the body part. Here, you need to forget about the traditional academic paper format and immerse yourself in the new scheme, which resembles research analysis.
- Conclusion. This is the last Toulmin paragraph that should be properly written. Keep in mind that the quality of your essay will depend on your ability to interpret the data you have mentioned in the body. Do not introduce any new information, but rather give hints about the areas for future research.
How to Write a Toulmin Essay Outline
If you have occasionally got a task to craft an essay that shows the Toulmin method, this article is exactly what you need. Follow the guidelines and make sure you skip none of the points:
- Claim. Before you start working on this point, you need to estimate the variety of Toulmin essay topics and opt for the one that appeals to you. Now you are ready to make a claim. It is also known as a thesis, which emphasizes the idea or concept you will discuss further in the paper. It should be short, logical, and concise, referring to the vital information and specific presumptions. Here is one of the most effective claims we have found in one Toulmin essay example: "Medical resources in the United States should be accessible for free."
- Data. Once you have made a statement, you need to provide the audience with the relevant data that proves your point of view. For example, "According to the statistical information, in the previous year, the citizens received % of free medical resources." Search the web and find the Toulmin argument sample that corresponds to your topic, as it will help you present solid arguments and convincing facts.
- Warrants. As specified in the Toulmin method example essay, these are the connections between the thesis and the other information mentioned in the body. Check out an impressive example of the warrant, "The more people get free access to medical resources, the healthier the nation will be."
- Qualifiers. This is the crucial point that is frequently known as an alternative point. Qualifiers are the statements that limit the validity of your thesis statement. For instance, "Apart from the access to medical resources, eating habits, physical activity, and some other factors may influence people's health and well-being."
- Rebuttal. It has been mentioned in a Toulmin model examples essay that this point is aimed at denying the thesis statement you have previously made, e.g., "The access to medical resources is not the only way to influence the health state."
- Backing. This is the final and the most significant part of the paper, the purpose of which is to answer the rebuttal. "Although access to medical resources is not the only factor that may impact human health, it is undeniably the crucial one."
Extra Tips and Recommendations for Creating an Excellent Paper
An impeccable outline and detailed analysis are the basic items you need for the success of your paper. Check out a flawless Toulmin analysis example essay to learn innovative techniques and helpful methods that will draw you closer to the desired result.
- Think logically, critically, and creatively.
- Mind the structure of the paper.
- Use relevant facts and up-to-date information only.
- Ask for professional help in writing essay outline if a single Toulmin argument example does not help.
The Writing Cooperative
May 30, 2020
How to Write a Great Essay Using the Toulmin Method
Build your essays with power and truth.
We live in an aggressive world. With social media and way too many news outlets, the world has evolved to globalization and instant access to all sorts of information and points of view. However, as it has become easier to develop an opinion, it has also become easier to make wrong assumptions in making that opinion, and that is not something that can be done in an essay.
An essay’s main goal is to prove an argument without falling into fallacious reasoning. To avoid this, Stephen Toulmin, a British philosopher, developed a rhetoric method to build a persuasive argument without making a mistake when building it. I have personally found that method to be quite useful when structuring an essay because it helps to expand the domain of whatever topic that is meant to be discussed in the essay. I could even affirm that the Toulmin method of argumentation is one of the greatest tools to make the argument of an essay relevant and unquestionable.
Who was Stephen Toulmin?
Stephen Toulmin was a British philosopher that lived throughout most of the 20th century. Toulmin wrote a book titled The Uses of Argument , where he explains an argumentation model that helps to improve the rhetoric and persuasion of a thesis statement.
The six elements of the Toulmin method
The Toulmin method uses six elements to build a proper argument. These elements consist of the claim, grounds, warrant, backing, qualifier, and rebuttal .
First, the claim is the central idea or affirmation that an argument wants to prove.
That claim is supported by the grounds , which are the uncontroverted, verified facts that prove your thesis is correct, without any fallacy or mistake in the reasoning behind the argument.
The grounds give place to the warrant , which is the assumption that connects the grounds to the main idea, or the claim.
An example of the Toulmin method structure:
Claim : The street is safely guarded in the night.
Grounds : There are police officers that go through the street every hour from 8 PM to 6 AM.
Warrant : The main function of a police officer’s job is to guard and keep a place safe through the enforcement of the law.
The warrant is often supported by the backing , which is a secondary fact that validates the warrant’s assumption. For example, if the warrant is that the main function of a policemen’s job is to keep a place safe, the backing can take form in an anecdote that proves that police officers are indeed doing their job and keeping that function present in their actions. An example is the following:
Backing : The policemen prevented a guy from stealing the mirrors of a car in the street last night.
A qualifier is a phrase that can recognize that the argument is still subjective and it does not intend to be held as absolute truth. For example:
Qualifier : Most likely (based on the officer’s schedule), the officers will be guarding the street tonight.
The Toulmin method lies the true strength of an argument over the rebuttal , which is the acknowledgment that there might be another opinion that differs from the one that’s being argued. For example:
Rebuttal : A neighbor saw the police officers eating donuts inside their car in the street two nights ago. The neighbor assumed they were up to no efficiency guarding the street.
It is essential that the argument debunks any possible objection to it and makes it invalid and untrue. That way, the argument’s holder shows domain into the debate the essay’s topic can create and the argument prevails as the most valid posture against its opponents.
Structuring paragraphs using the Toulmin method
With the Toulmin method explained, it is much easier to structure paragraphs that build an essay that strongly defends a thesis statement. First, the introduction paragraph in an essay can be perceived as the paragraph that will first affirm the claim, as well as the question that the claim is answering and why that question needs to be answered with the claim that the essay is building. The introduction needs to feel relevant for the reader so he feels compelled to read the rest of what you have to say. Remember who the audience of the essay is going to be and bear in mind to present the essay’s premise in the most interesting way possible for the reader to respect and fully dive into the rest of the essay. In other words, the introduction needs to highlight why the essay is worth reading.
There is usually an essay structure than can be further used to develop a Toulmin argument. The body paragraphs are the format to expand the elements that support the claim. Usually, two paragraphs, if not more, can be used to establish the grounds and warrants , alongside backing examples, that support the essay’s claim in a way that proves the claim is not being affirmed randomly, meaning that the claim needs to look meticulously researched and backed up, whether it is through literature or data research. Also, there needs to be a paragraph that is dedicated to the rebuttal , or the counterarguments that may come up while aiming to prove the veracity of the claim. The strength of the thesis statement will be higher if it prevails over the opposing point of view. In a world of blind belief, a posture that is proven to stick more to the truth speaks very highly of the writer who formulates the argument.
Finally, there needs to be a conclusion paragraph in the essay. This essay might be the easiest one to make when writing an essay because it summarizes what has already been said throughout the essay in a way that the reader clearly understands why the essay was written. Therefore, the concluding paragraph must not add up new information that supports the essay’s claim. The essay needs to be wrapped up in a convincing, overwhelming way so that the relevance of its purpose resonates with the reader.
When to use the Toulmin method
I particularly like the Toulmin method of argumentation when writing an essay because it is a great tool to avoid fallacies in the reasoning behind the development of an argument.
Though the Toulmin method is often considered too informal for academic writing, it is highly effective to prove the veracity of an argument in modern times, where it seems like everybody with a WiFi connection is suddenly qualified to argue a position about a controversial topic. However, we must still value truth as the most essential quality of words.
When writing an essay, getting to the truth about any topic must be the prevailing priority of any argument holder. And I firmly believe the Toulmin method is the greatest tool towards assuring truth in an essay’s words.
Bibliography and other references
Buckinghamshire New University. “Outline for a Five-Paragraph Essay”. Retrieved on May 14th, 2020. https://www.bucks.edu/media/bcccmedialibrary/pdf/FiveParagraphEssayOutlineJuly08_000.pdf (link in the description of the video made by Taylor Reneau).
Purdue University. “The Toulmin Argument: What is the Toulmin Method?”. In Purdue Online Writing Lab: College of Liberal Arts, 1995–2020 . https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/historical_perspectives_on_argumentation/toulmin_argument.html.
Reneau, Taylor. “How to Write the Perfect Essay”. December 3rd, 2016. Video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXsuRYdSy2o.
Rodríguez Bello, Laura Isabel. “El modelo argumentativo de Toulmin en la escritura de artículos de investigación educativa”. In Revista Digital Universitaria 1, vol. 5. January 21st, 2004. http://www.revista.unam.mx/vol.5/num1/art2/ene_art2.pdf .
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How to Write a Toulmin Essay
S. Toulmin and Toulmin Method of Argumentation
Stephen Toulmin is amongst the most renowned philosophers of the 20 th century, with very important contributions regarding developing a better definition of our contemporary era (post-modernism) and its leading principles. Some of his elaborations concern the field of rationalism and logical reasoning. As highly interested in the contemporary Philosophy of science, Toulmin offers a special method ("Toulmin Method") for checking the logical reasoning of a given person. Since most people use arguments which are not relevant to their thesis , or misinterpret the data they have at hand, Toulmin presupposes several points needed for checking reasoning in such cases. It should be said that the Toulmin method of argumentation itself is not hard for grasping, but sometimes one may become confused while analyzing the presented argument. This is so because we always start from a given set of assumptions (such as the principles of common sense). Thus, it is not possible to check whether the assumptions themselves are true. What is important is to check their connection with the data and the thesis in question.
The current paper will give you some instructions regarding how to write a Toulmin essay. Now, writing a Toulmin essay requires forming a clear conception about the discussed issue. The structure of the presented argument is as important as its contents. Hence, its veracity should be checked together with its meeting all the formal criteria for logical correctness. You need to observe the following outline. Remember that the following six parts of the Toulmin essay could be ordered in a different way, but all of them need to be presented.
Toulmin Essay Outline
Toulmin claim may also be called a thesis/hypothesis. This is an assertion which you have to defend by referring to data and some presumptions (or warrants).
Example : “ Educational resources in the United States should be accessible for free .”
These are the facts that you must refer to. For instance, you can write that, “ As of year X, only Z percent of the educational resources in the United States are accessible without additional payment. ” Here you can also add additional information or other data which complement the first one.
Toulmin warrants are the logical connections between the data presented and the thesis. A Toulmin warrant is also an assertion but it is of such a kind which does not need further proving (in this sense it is a presupposition).
An example of the Toulmin warrant is: “ The more accessible educational resources are, the better educational results will be achieved by school students .” This assertion is related to the issue of educational resources. On the other hand, it is a value statement; i.e. it exposes a given point of view rooted in morality. Although it is not written here, you are actually saying that the achievement of higher marks and grades is desirable.
Toulmin qualifiers are the statements which restrict the validity of your thesis. There is no such thing as absolute truth, (at least not in a rational sense). Not everyone who has access to free educational resources improves his/her results. Therefore, there could be other factors which influence the particular results in school. You should describe them in this part.
Example : “ The access to educational resources is not the only necessary condition. Support from teachers and parents is also needed .”
Actually, the rebuttal was presented in the previous section. Toulmin rebuttal is such an assertion which repudiates your thesis. Thus, the sentence “ The access to educational resources is not the only necessary condition ” is a rebuttal. As you see, the qualifiers and the rebuttal are tightly connected.
Toulmin rebuttal is such an assertion which repudiates your thesis. Tweet This
Toulmin backing is a statement which reinforces the warrants. This statement is needed to answer the counter-argument (the rebuttal). You can write the following: “ The access to free educational resources is the main factor in improving the school students’ grades at school. ”
As you can see from all these points, the structure of the Toulmin essay requires careful elaboration of the thesis and checking the conditions for its validity. Of course, this argument is only of ideal nature, so it is not possible to adhere to it in a perfect sense. Its major weakness is, as we have seen, the impossibility to prove the warrants (or our preliminary assumptions), for the reason that this would lead to endless regress (such a vicious circle which is repeated without end).
It is imperative to write your Toulmin essay in such a way that you state and defend your claim appropriately and thoroughly. Here is a Toulmin essay example that you can review before writing your own Toulmin model essay.
Toulmin Model Example Essay
Is it necessary to exercise every day.
The following Toulmin essay example will be done using an outline showing the six steps.
Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and the United States Department of Health and Human Services recommend that adults be physically active for at least 30 minutes each day? Yes, you heard right. For exercise to be of any beneficial help, an adult must be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day. Some may argue that with the hustle and bustle of our current lives, this is not possible. I say, yes, it is. Thirty minutes of exercise is easy to get in every day and you should be happy to do it!
Much research has gone into exercise and its benefits to health and wellness. Study after study has shown where exercise via aerobics, strength training and muscle conditioning has positive outcomes on health. These studies have been so extensive that they have delved deep into the types of exercise and how much is needed for the various health benefits. Three common areas of studies are aerobic exercise, muscle strengthening and bone strengthening exercises. They all show that daily physical activity provides benefits such as weight loss or management, improvement in mood, cardiorespiratory and muscle fitness, and body composition as well as a reduction in risk for health conditions such as depression, heart disease, diabetes and more.
There are thousands of studies that have shown time and time again, regardless of the population studied, the number of persons involved in the study and the types of exercises examined, that exercise does have a positive impact on overall health. Exercising daily for at least 30 minutes positively impacts mood, weight and health.
Take a look at your favourite athlete. How often do you think they exercise and what types of exercise do you think they do? How is this person’s physical fitness? What about their body composition? So, let’s come a little closer to home. Look at your family or friends who exercise regularly, how is their weight, fitness level, body composition and overall health? If you’re not sure, ask them. They will be more than happy to tell you about the benefits they’ve discovered and the changes in their body since they started exercising.
But is it really necessary to exercise every day? The recommendation is to exercise for a total of 150 minutes each week so what if a person exercises only on weekends but still totals the 150 minutes? Will they still get the same benefit?
The answer to this is yes and no, it depends. If your aim is physical fitness and overall health and wellness, then yes. But if you have goals on losing weight or gaining muscle and endurance, this will take a significantly longer time if not done daily or more regularly. Yes, studies have been done on this too and they show that the outcome and the time it takes to achieve the desired result depends on how often exercising is done, for how long and the types of exercise done.
There is a wealth of information available on the different types of exercises, which is better for what body type and also for what desired result. Ultimately, the important point is that exercise should be incorporated into your lifestyle daily to maintain your overall health and this is the best starting point for any and all motives for exercising and attaining health.
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Toulmin Essay Topics - 20 creative essay ideas
Many students enjoy writing a Toulmin essay because it forces you to reason, think critically and put forward a good argument. If you are looking for Toulmin essay idea, here are some good topics you can try.
- Should human cloning be allowed?
- Abortions are a necessary evil.
- Modern advertising has distorted the meaning of true beauty.
- Fighting childhood obesity should start at home and not in the offices of government
- Is sugar to blame for lifestyle diseases?
- Use of modern technology is a must for the future classroom.
- The use of cell phones has positively impacted interpersonal relationships.
- Social media has not brought us closer together.
- What is a good solution to the worldwide issue of illegal immigration?
- Should people adopt children of another ethnic group?
Below, you will find some of the most popular questions asked by students when it comes to Toulmin essay writing.
How to Write a Toulmin Model Essay?
Writing your Toulmin essay can be easy if you follow these 6 main steps:
- State your claim/ thesis that you will argue.
- Give evidence to support your claim/ thesis.
- Give an explanation of how and why the evidence given supports the claim you have made.
- Provide any additional proof necessary to support and explain your claim.
- Give an example of a counterclaim, a thesis that disagrees with your claim.
- Finally, provide evidence to support your counterclaim.
How to Write a Toulmin Statement?
Just like most essays, your Toulmin model essay thesis statement must be done in the following way:
- Carefully examine the topic and determine your stance on the issue.
- When you have your point of view, craft a statement that outlines your viewpoint in a clear, specific and detailed way. Make sure it is written in formal language and allows the reader to know what to expect from the rest of your Toulmin essay.
How can I use the 'Toulmin Method' to analyze an argument?
The three main aspects of using the Toulmin method to analyze an argument lie in:
- the supporting data and the warrant, and
- the explanation of how and why the supporting data relates to the claim.
Analysis of any argument using the Toulmin Method must also be objective in that after you have made your claim and supported it, you must then assess the flip side and look at any counterclaims and provide support for those. This allows you to write a strong and objective essay. Additionally, including the counterclaims and their relevant arguments allows the writer to appear more credible and knowledgeable.
What is a Toulmin proposal?
The Toulmin proposal is an outline of how the essay is to be written. It provides a guide for writing the best possible Toulmin argumentative essay by asking questions like the following in an effort to ensure that all the relevant areas are covered and sufficient information is incorporated into the essay.
- Can you define your claim?
- What type of claim are you making?
- How and why will the claim affect the arrangement of the argument?
- How will your claims be qualified?
- Do you have a rebuttal?
- What evidence do you have to support your claim? What is your most persuasive piece of supporting data? What is your least supportive data?
- What are you using as the basic foundation of your supporting evidence? Will you need to back-up this information?
What is the Difference between Classical, Rogerian, and Toulmin Argument Structure?
The three methods of argument structure have similarities as well as differences. When writing an argumentative essay, you may choose one of these methods and this is how you know which is the right one for you.
- Classical – This method is designed to be easily understood and helps you to structure your argument so that the needs of the reader are met. It has its base in formal logic and requires six main parts: an introduction, an explanation of the background story, the proposition or thesis statement, the supporting evidence, statements of opposing viewpoints and a conclusion.
- Rogerian – With this method, both the writer’s viewpoint and opposing points are expressed and evaluated with the aim of finding a common ground. It is less argumentative and aggressive than the Toulmin method and is a good conflict resolution technique to use particularly on sensitive issues.
- Toulmin – This method analyzes arguments using claims and supporting evidence. It is good for assessing ideas to determine the truth and validity of the claim. Another good thing about the Toulmin method is that it allows the writer to explore his viewpoints as well as opposing viewpoints without the need to find common ground between the two.
The Toulmin argument essay is an effective way to present support for your argument and it is written to persuade the reader that the writer’s viewpoints are judicious. Even if the reader is not fully convinced the writer is right, the evidence put forward should be solid enough that the reader will see the reasoning and consider the argument himself.
The Toulmin argument essay is an effective way to present support for your argument and it is written to persuade the reader that the writer’s viewpoints are judicious. Tweet This
The Toulmin analysis essay is indeed a phenomenal argumentative tool that, when done correctly, will convince the reader of the writer’s viewpoint.
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Argumentative Essay On Toulmin Model Global Warming
Type of paper: Argumentative Essay
Topic: Global Warming , Pollution , World , Evidence , Nature , Development , Environmental Issues , Environment
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Outline This essay will look at the issue of global warming using the Toulmin model (Toulmin, 1; Fullerton.edu, 1). As such, the following sections will be discussed in the essay in line with the model: Claim: Looking at the issue of global warming, it is clear that there are many causes culminating into the pollution of the environment, and the degradation of the ozone layer. There are various factors that can lead to this. The end result is global warming which threatens life on the planet. As such, it is the responsibility of the inhabitants of earth to stop this catastrophe. This essay therefore claims that man has contributed to global warming and holds the key to stopping it. Grounds: This is where the essay will seek to prove that man has actually participated in propelling global warming. It will therefore provide evidence and facts that prove that man’s activities have in one way or another led to the disruption in the cause of nature. As such, his activities lead to global warming and climate change. It will also seek to give evidence that if man changed his ways and put in place some measures, he could as well help in controlling this catastrophe. The grounds will be based on two major arguments and the evidence for them: that man’s activities have greatly contributed to global warming and two, that a change in the order that man does things would go a long way in saving the environment from total degradation. Warrants: in this section, the essay will seek to prove or show the actual relationship between man’s activities and the degradation of the environment. In other words, this is where a correlation will be drawn between the role of man and global warming. Once the link is established, the essay will then prove that if man reversed the order in which he carried out his activities, then the same would be reflected on the environment, thus reducing the pollution rates. Backing: this is where hard evidence will be given for the argument. In this section, the essay will seek to provide some facts through statistical and scientific evidence to show how man has contributed to environmental degradation. For instance, it will provide statistics on the emission rates of carbon dioxide and how these contribute to global warming. It will also give evidence on the various effects of global warming on life in the planet. This is expected to give a strong founding for the essay. Modal Qualifiers: Toulmin (340) observes that in this section, the essay should give evidence that the proposed action would be universally accepted and would not have any negative impacts on the people or the environment. As such, this essay will seek to show that the proposed mitigation measures could go a long way in saving the whole world from the dangers of environmental change. Rebuttal: This is the essay section that will deal with a counter argument on the issue of man’s contribution to causing and preventing environmental degradation. In this section, the essay will seek to prove that there are various causes that lead to global warming, some of which are natural. Since man has no control over the natural events, this argument will be used to prove that man can do nothing to cause or control the process of environmental degradation and global warming. It will seek to show that man is an observer who does nothing but cope with all the environmental challenges that Mother Nature brings along his way.
Claim The issue of global warming is a global concern that has put the leaders of the world in a tight position to find a solution for the climate change issue that is threatening the life on earth. According to the National Geographic (1), these worries are justified. This is mainly because the temperatures on the earth’s surface seem to be rising day in day out. As a result, the levels of the seas are rising and the glaciers in the high peaks on earth as well as the Polar Regions are gradually melting. This poses the threat of an even greater rise in the sea levels. On overall assessment, it emerges quite clearly that man has a great significance to the environmental issues. He has the ability to cause a total disruption of the environment just as he has the ability to control it. As such, it is upon man to decide on what he wants to do with his environment.
There is sufficient evidence to show that man has contributed to the course of environmental pollution which has ultimately led to global warming. There are some activities that man engage in that lead to increased emission. For instance, there is the use of motor vehicles. The car exhaust system leads to emission of carbon dioxide which leads to accumulation of the gas into the atmosphere (Strasburg, 1). Similarly, man, as he seeks comfort, ends up using some home devices that contribute to the release of green house gases. These are appliances such as the air conditioners. However, the greatest contribution that man has to the problem is the through industrial processes. Man engages in various processes that lead to the accumulation of these gases into the atmosphere (Citidata.com, 1; Dick, 1).
Of course, there are adverse effects of these activities to the life of plants and animals on the planet such as change in the weather patterns which affects productivity of the land, poses a threat to the animal habitat such as the polar bears and also poses health threats to man himself (nrdc.org, 1; Time for Change, 1). Due to these effects, man has to derive a way to solve the problem.
There are various ways in which man can achieve this. For instance, he can reduce engagement in activities that increase the pollution. For instance, he can use cars that have good engines, leading to proper utilization of fuel hence reduce the emission rates. Similarly, he can reform his industries so become more environmental friendly. For instance, he can find ways to detoxify gases released from the industrial chimneys before they are released into the atmosphere. Other changes can be made in the manner in which the processing industries go about their work so that they can reduce the emission rates (Global warming Facts, 1; Sierra Club, 1). Use of renewable energy could also go a long way in ensuring that the emission is reduced.
So far, the essay has shown that there are various activities that man can be engaged in to prevent the pollution of the environment. However, this does not specifically mean that if man observes the recommendations so far the issue of global warming would be solved. As such, there is need for sufficient evidence to prove that his activities can actually lead to the end of the problem.
This is the rational for this argument: the natural balance has been in existence for quite a long time. Man’s activities led to the disruption in the balance. As such, since man is the problem, he can as well be the solution by putting in place measures to restore the balance that he contributed in distorting. These are the measures indicated by Sierra Club (1) which include processes such as reducing waste materials, reusing some of the materials and recycling others. This would go a long way in ensuring that the ecological balance is maintained.
Other man’s activities lead to over-exploitation of the available resources, which again leads to the degradation of the environment. As such, if man put into place measures to control such effects, then there is a possibility that he could lead to a stop to the environmental threat. In conclusion, this section has sought to show the exact relation between man’s activities and global warming. It has emerged that there is a very strong correlation between the two. As such, if man controlled his activities, there is every possibility that this would be an efficient way of controlling the global warming process.
In this section, the main aim is to prove that there are various changes that ma can put in place to ensure that global warming is brought to a slow. First of all, it is important to look at the current trend in global warming. The national Geographic (1) indicates that the average temperatures on the earth’s surface have gone up by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 0.8 degrees Celsius. If this is not brought to check, then the levels could continue rising which could lead to serious repercussions on the earth’s surface. The arctic regions are quickly wearing away and if the trend continues, then they could totally disappear by the summer of 2040, which is of course a threat to the life of animals living in these regions (nrdc.org, 1).
On a similar note, the coral reefs are suffering bleaching effect due to the change in water temperatures, where some have recorded bleaching rates of as high as 70%. Glaciers and mountain snows are also receiving the blunt end of the global warming effects where, for instance, the Glacier National Park has observed a reduction in the number of glaciers from 150 glaciers in 1910 to only 27 glaciers at the present. These statistics send a shocking wave to the environmentalists in the world. It is clear that unless something is done, then the world is doomed to suffer from the wrath of nature.
It is not the animals who have contributed to this disruption. Rather, it is the creature that is supposed to be the custodian of nature: man. However, since man knows the exact causes of the problem, he can as well contribute to ending the saga. All he has to do is reverse his manner of doing things so that they are more environmental friendly. He has the ability and means; all he needs is the will and the motivation to do it.
According to NASA (1), it comes out quite clearly that more often than not, man’s activities are concerned with the emission of green house gases which lead to the issue of global warming. For instance, man usually drives to and from work. It is very common to find that in one homestead there are more than one automobile. The meaning of this is that every time that the different members of the family go out, they usually lead to more emission. If the number of automobile per household was reduced, this could go a long way in curbing the issue of emission.
Sierra Club (1) observes that manufacturing industries are always releasing gases into the atmosphere. Of course, this goes a long way into polluting the environment and increasing the concentration of the GHG gases. Suppose these emission rates were cut down or controlled so that there is reduced accumulation of GHG gases into the atmosphere. The results would be gratifying for the whole world. There is also the issue of deforestation. Most of the time, man is involved in activities that lead to destruction of the forest cover in the world. Activities such as charcoal burning, clearing land for farming and overstocking contribute to making the land bare. This has serious repercussions on the environment since the trees contribute to the cleaning of air. As such, if man reduced the frequency at which he cuts down trees, then the gross effect would be conservation of the environment.
All along, this argument has held the position that man contribute to the environmental degradation that leads to global warming. Furthermore, it has stressed on the fact that if man changed the manner in which he interacted with his environment, there is a possibility that he could curb the global warming menace. This argument could be logical to some extent. However, there is another argument that shows that man has no control over global warming at all.
First of all, there is the scientific argument which claims that the green house gases are not the only pre-cursors to global warming. As such, in as much as man contributes to the release of these gases into the atmosphere, this has little or no effect on the rate of global warming (Dick, 1).
However, the strongest argument against man’s contribution towards the control of environmental pollution and global warming is the argument that most of the significant causes of global warming are natural (Strasburg, 1). For instance, there are the volcanic eruptions that lead to the rise in the temperature levels. As a matter of fact, there is no way that man has control over these volcanic activities. Therefore, he is left in a helpless situation where he just observes as the environmental and natural forces work to his disadvantage.
There are also other factors such as the water vapors. Day in day out, water from the water bodies around the world vaporizes into vapor which accumulates in the atmosphere and contributes to the global warming. There is no way that man has control over this and as such, he has no means to control it. The same case applies to the solar cycles and the cosmic rays which work together to bring an overall effect of global warming. The mechanism by which these forces work is far beyond the control of man (Sarsburg, 1).
This essay has looked at the Toulmin model and how it can be used in finding a solution for a problem. It has given the claim, grounds, warrant, backing, modal qualifiers as well as the rebuttal. The issue that has been addressed by the essay is global warming, where the essay sough to prove as to whether or not man has the ability to control the problem. The Toulmin model was followed all through the essay.
City-Data.com. ‘Man’s Contribution to Global Warming.’ 2012. Web, 26th March 2012, http://www.city-data.com/forum/green-living/605770-man-s-contribution-global-warming.html Dick, Phillip K. ‘Is Man Caused Global Warming a Scientific Fact?’ 2011. Web, 26th March 2012, http://lrak.net/globalwarming.htm Fullertion.edu. ‘Toulmin Model of Argument.’ N.d. Web, 26th March 2012, https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/13647e25076a8d62 Global Warming Facts. ‘Global Warming.’ 2010. Web, 26th March 2012, http://globalwarming-facts.info/50-tips.html Nasa.gov. ‘Global Climate Change.’ 2012. Web, 26th March 2012, http://climate.nasa.gov/causes/ National Geographic News. ‘Global Warming Fast Facts.’ 1996. Web, 26th March 2012, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/12/1206_041206_global_warming.html NRDC. ‘Consequences of Global Warming.’ 2012. Web, 26th March 2012, http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/fcons.asp Sierra Club. ‘Clean Energy Solutions: Ten Things You Can Do to Help Curb Global Warming.’ 2012. Web, 26th March 2012, http://www.sierraclub.org/energy/tenthings/default.aspx Strasburg, McIntire Jeff. ‘Top Global Warming Causes – Natural or Human?’ 2009. Web, 26th March 2012, http://blog.sustainablog.org/2009/06/the-top-causes-of-global-warming-natural-or-human/ Time for Change. ‘Cause and Effect for Global Warming.’ N.d. Web. 26th March 2012, http://timeforchange.org/cause-and-effect-for-global-warming Toulmin, S. ‘The Uses of Argument.’ 1969. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Think Quest. ‘Global Warming.’ 2012. Web, 26th March 2012, http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0215471/global_warming.htm
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- How to write an argumentative essay | Examples & tips
How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips
Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 6, 2021.
An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.
Table of contents
When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.
You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.
The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.
Argumentative writing at college level
At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.
In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.
Examples of argumentative essay prompts
At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.
Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.
- Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
- Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
- Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
- Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
- Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
- Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.
An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.
There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.
The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:
- Make a claim
- Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
- Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
- Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives
The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.
Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:
- Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
- Cite data to support your claim
- Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
- Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.
The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:
- Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
- Highlight the problems with this position
- Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
- Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?
This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.
Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:
- Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
- Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
- Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
- Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.
You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.
Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .
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Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.
Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.
The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.
In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.
Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.
This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.
Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.
A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.
An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.
No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.
Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.
The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.
An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.
An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.
At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).
Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.
The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .
The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.
In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.
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This type of argument works well when there are no clear truths or absolute solutions to a problem. Toulmin arguments take into account the complex nature of most situations.
There are six elements for analyzing, and, in this case, presenting arguments that are important to the Toulmin method.
These elements of a Toulmin analysis can help you as both a reader and a writer. When you’re analyzing arguments as a reader, you can look for these elements to help you understand the argument and evaluate its validity. When you’re writing an argument, you can include these same elements in to ensure your audience will see the validity in your claims.
The claim is a statement of opinion that the author is asking her or his audience to accept as true.
The grounds are the facts, data, or reasoning upon which the claim is based. Essentially, the grounds are the facts making the case for the claim.
The warrant is what links the grounds to the claim. This is what makes the audience understand how the grounds are connected to supporting the claim. Sometimes, the warrant is implicit (not directly stated), but the warrant can be stated directly as well. As a writer, you are making assumptions about what your audience already believes, so you have to think about how clear your warrant is and if you need to state it directly for your audience. You must also think about whether or not a warrant is actually an unproven claim.
The backing gives additional support for the claim by addressing different questions related to your claim.
The qualifier is essentially the limits to the claim or an understanding that the claim is not true in all situations. Qualifiers add strength to claims because they help the audience understand the author does not expect her or his opinion to be true all of the time or for her or his ideas to work all of the time. If writers use qualifiers that are too broad, such as “always” or “never,” their claims can be really difficult to support. Qualifiers like “some” or “many” help limit the claim, which can add strength to the claim.
The rebuttal is when the author addresses the opposing views. The author can use a rebuttal to pre-empt counter arguments, making the original argument stronger.
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How to Write an Argumentative Essay Outline
An argumentative essay is a piece of writing that uses logical evidence and empirical data to convince readers of a particular position on a topic. Because of its reliance on structure and planning, the first step in writing one is often drafting a solid argumentative essay outline.
Of course, drafting an argumentative essay outline can be just as daunting as actually writing one. Choosing topics is one thing, but organizing your thesis , research, reasoning, and conclusion is a whole other endeavor—and that’s all before beginning the first draft!
So in this quick guide, we explain how to make an effective argumentative essay outline, covering all three major formats: Classical (Aristotelian), Rogerian, and Toulmin. We’ll also include argumentative essay outline examples and templates to help you understand what works.
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How is an argumentative essay structured?
An argumentative essay uses facts, data, and logical reasoning to substantiate a specific stance on any given topic. They are typically structured to “build an argument,” with a clear thesis statement , unambiguous conclusion, and as much evidential support as needed.
While all seven types of essays follow the same introduction-body-conclusion structure, argumentative essays tend to be more complex to fit all the necessary components of a convincing argument. For example, you may want to dissect opposing points of view to strengthen your own argument, but where would you put that section? Before your argument? After? Intermingled throughout the essay with each new piece of evidence?
There’s no one right way to structure an argumentative essay; it depends on your topic, opposing viewpoints, and the readers, among other things. In fact, to accommodate different types of argumentative essay styles, three methods have emerged as the go-to formats: Classical (Aristotelian), Rogerian, and Toulmin, explained below.
No matter the format or topic, a strong argumentative essay outline makes it easier to organize your thoughts and present your case in the best possible way. So before you get down to the actual essay writing , take a little time to prepare what you want to say in an outline.
How to create an argumentative essay outline
Knowing how to write an outline is just half the battle. Because an argumentative essay outline requires extra structure and organization, it often requires more extensive planning than the standard essay outline . After all, the goal is to present the best argument for your topic, so you need to make sure each section is in the optimal place.
As mentioned, there are three main options for how to structure an argumentative essay. Before we dive into the details, let’s look at an overview of each so you can decide which one best fits your essay.
When to use it: straightforward and direct arguments
The most forthright approach, the Classical or Aristotelian format is closest to traditional essay structures. It follows a simple layout: explain your argument, explain your opposition’s argument, and then present your evidence, all the while relying on credibility ( ethos ), emotion ( pathos ), and reasoning ( logos ) to influence the reader.
When to use it: both sides make valid arguments; your readers are sympathetic to the opposing position
The Rogerian format gives ample respect to opposing stances, making it a great “middle-ground” approach for representing both sides. This method is ideal if your thesis is a compromise between conflicting positions or an attempt to unify them.
Likewise, this format is best if you’re writing for readers who are already biased toward an opposing position, such as if you’re arguing against societal norms.
When to use it: complicated arguments with multiple facets; rebuttals and counterarguments
The Toulmin method is a deep analysis of a single argument. Given its methodical and detailed nature, it works best for breaking down a complicated thesis into digestible portions.
The Toulmin method is rather nitpicky in a very systematic way. That makes it an ideal format if your essay is a rebuttal or counterargument to another essay—you’re able to dissect and disprove your opposition point by point while offering a more reasonable alternative.
Classical argumentative essay outline template
Aristotle had a gift for explaining things clearly and logically, and the Aristotelian argumentative essay structure leans into that. Also known as Classical or Classic, the Aristotelian format is the most straightforward: the writer presents their argument first and then refutes the opposing argument.
Let’s look at the details in this argumentative essay outline example for the Classical or Aristotelian format.
A. Open with a hook, something to keep the reader interested enough to read until the conclusion (known as exordium ) B. Give any background information or context necessary to understand the topic (known as narratio ) C. Provide a thesis statement explaining your stance and why you feel that way (known as proposito and partitio )
II. First reason
A. Start with the least controversial reason to support your argument, explaining your point clearly as an overview 1. First evidential support of your reason (known as confirmatio )
2. Second evidential support of your reason, then third, and so on
B. Summarize your first reason again and tie it together with evidential support
III. Second reason, etc.
A. Continue to list your reasons in the same format as the first. List your reasons from least to most controversial
IV. First opposing point of view
A. Explain the reasoning of the opposing side. Point out their defenses and evidence—what would they say if they were writing the essay? 1. Point out weaknesses and inconsistencies in their argument
2. Refute their points with evidential support (known as refutatio )
3. Reinforce your position as the more reasonable position
V. Second opposing point of view, etc.
A. Continue to present and refute opposing points of view in the same format as the first
A. Reiterate your position and thesis statement, drawing on your strongest evidential support and rebuttals of opposing points (known as peroratio ) B. Wrap everything up with a thought-provoking ending or call to action (a suggestion you want the reader to take)
Rogerian argumentative essay outline template
Of all formats, Rogerian gives the most attention to opposing arguments. Its goal is to create a middle ground between two arguments, pointing out the validity of each and finding a way to unify them as one. If positions on a particular topic are too polarized or unable to coexist, this format won’t work.
Let’s take a closer look at the Rogerian argumentative essay outline example below and notice the concessions for opposing points of view.
A. State the problem that needs to be solved and any context necessary for understanding it B. Explain the ideal solutions from your position as well as the ideal solutions from opposing positions (and point out any overlap) C. Make your thesis statement
II. Summarize the opposing position
A. Summarize the opposition’s point of view respectfully; consider their defense and reasoning 1. Present evidential support for the opposing position
2. Comment on or refute their support
B. Follow the same format for additional opposing points of view
III. Validate the opposing position
A. Show that you understand and/or sympathize with the opposing position 1. Explain the context and reasoning behind your opposition’s perspective
2. Elaborate on the evidence and data from opposing positions
B. Affirm the areas in which you agree with the opposition
IV. Present your position
A. Summarize your first reason for holding your position 1. Present your first piece of evidential support
2. Present your second piece of evidential support, and so on
B. Summarize your second reason for holding your position, and so on
V. Bring both sides together (compromise)
A. Consider which aspects from each argument are most reasonable B. Propose a compromise that combines the best elements from each position
A. Reaffirm your respect for the opposing point of view B. Reiterate the areas in which the opposition can benefit from your argument and vice versa C. Summarize the earlier compromise and, if possible, end on a positive note
Toulmin argumentative essay outline template
Stephen Toulmin’s original purpose was to analyze the nature of arguments, but the application of his teachings has evolved into an argumentative essay format, especially for challenging existing arguments. It focuses on the six elements that make up a good argument: claim (thesis), grounds (data and reasons), warrants, backings, qualifiers, and rebuttals.
The argumentative essay outline example below shows the recommended order in which to put these elements:
A. Open with a hook, if you can, to garner interest B. Explain the topic and its necessary context C. Make your thesis statement
II. Present the grounds (hard evidence) to validate your thesis
A. Present your first evidential support of data or logical reasons B. Present your second evidential support of data or logical reasons, and so on
III. Explain your first warrant (justification for your thesis)
A. Explain how the warrant relates back to your thesis B. Provide backing to support your warrant (could be more evidence or data or just logical reasoning) C. List any qualifiers that undermine or limit your warrant—the idea is to acknowledge any weaknesses in your own argument
IV. Explain your second warrant, and so on
A. Continue to explain your individual warrants as above
V. Discuss opposition
A. Explain the first opposing point of view 1. Discuss the opposition fairly and transparently
2. Explain your rebuttal to defend your thesis
B. Explain the second opposing point of view, and so on
A. Connect all your warrants and data together B. Reiterate the opposing position and your rebuttals C. Draw a conclusion to make your final claim and reaffirm your thesis
Argumentative essay FAQs
What is an argumentative essay?
An argumentative essay is a short, nonfiction piece of writing that uses logical evidence and empirical data to convince the reader of a certain point of view.
Argumentative essays typically include an explanation of the writer’s position (thesis), evidence supporting that thesis, opposing points of view, and rebuttals against that opposition. The order in which these sections are presented, however, depends on the format.
What are some common ways to organize an argumentative essay outline?
The most straightforward approach to an argumentative essay outline is to first present your position, including the evidence and reasoning to back it up, and then address the opposing points of view. However, the more complex the topic, the more layers must be added to the outline.
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Examples Of Toulmin Model Argument Essay
Excerpt from Essay :
However, Christians do not know when that day is coming as God himself has said that we will not know when it is coming. As such, Christians need to recognize that the planet has persisted for millions and billions of years before they existed and that shall persist, at least for a time, after they are gone (Old Earth, 2015). The sentences just mentioned are a lot of the backing and support for the concept that Christians should revere and care for the planet and implore others to do the same. Indeed, the talk of how God created the Earth is in the first part of Genesis. The references in the Bible that relate to taking care of the environment come early and often and are impossible to miss. For example, Genesis 2:15 says "the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work and keep it" (Open Bible, 2015). When it comes to animals , God had said that human would have dominion over the animals but limits are placed on this. One example is Deuteronomy 22:6 where it says that snatching up a mother bird that is tending eggs is wrong and immoral (Open Bible, 2015). Further, God himself put the Earth on a high pedestal. For example, one of the stated reasons for the Sabbath, the day of rest, is to allow the Earth to "rest" (Does God Exist, 2015). Despite the totality of the evidence that is just sampled above, rather than being complete, there is always a rebuttal and a counter-argument to all questions like this. For example, some people take the preservation of the Earth very seriously and others still hold it in a god -like reverence like Wiccans and such. Many would say that this is an example of a false idol and thus an example of how not to live and believe. Wiccans in particular could be referred to in this way because they "have great reverence for the Earth and for their Goddess and her consort, the horned God" (Religious Tolerance, 2015). For those that know the Bible, this is a pretty clear-cut case of "being against God." As explained in Matthew 12:30, one cannot be for something than God and not be against God himself. When it comes to the broader question of this report, the basic premise is that revering the Earth, in and of itself, is not wrong. Further, no sane person would probably make the argument that treating the Earth like a dumpster is ever alright. However, the motives and lengths to which the Earth revered can be taken too far, can be done for the wrong reasons and is not always the right way to live (Bible Hub, 2015). Finally, we come to the qualification part of the Toulmin model and the latter part of the paragraph basically sums that up. The overall Christian mindset asserts that the Earth should be revered but one should also keep in mind that the Earth and our bodies are a vessel and our current living situation is a very small part of a wider existence and an eternity of time. As such, getting too caught up with the planet and its conditions or trappings is less than wise. In short, there needs to be a healthy balance rather than extremism or a general love affair with life on this planet. After all, there is the argument that one cannot take their riches and other Earthly possessions with them. The Bible supports this argument as well. It is said in black and white in 1st Timothy 6:7 when it says "For we brought nothing into the world , and we can take nothing form it" (Bible Hub, 2015). Conclusion If there is a lesson to be learned from the overall argument made in this report, it is that anything can be taken to extremes. Again, reverence and respect for the Earth and condition is indeed a Christian belief but it has be tempered and moderated with a concurrent remembrance that the Earth is not forever and we are only here for so long. Beyond that, a person can only be responsible for their own actions and what happens around them. Going beyond those constraints will lead to conflict and other problems. In short, being an environmental steward is a very Christian idea but there are limits to all concepts like that, even those that relate to God. References Bible Hub,. (2015). Matthew 12:30 "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.. Biblehub.com. Retrieved 16 October 2015, from http://biblehub.com/matthew/12-30.htm Bible Hub,. (2015). 1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.. Biblehub.com. Retrieved 16 October 2015, from http://biblehub.com/1_timothy/6-7.htm Borba,…
Sources Used in Documents:
References Bible Hub,. (2015). Matthew 12:30 "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.. Biblehub.com. Retrieved 16 October 2015, from http://biblehub.com/matthew/12-30.htm Bible Hub,. (2015). 1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.. Biblehub.com. Retrieved 16 October 2015, from http://biblehub.com/1_timothy/6-7.htm Borba, A. (2015). 420 Partiers Leave Behind Mess At Golden Gate Park. Sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com. Retrieved 16 October 2015, from http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/04/21/420-marijuana-partiers-mess-hippie-hill-golden-gate-park-san-francisco/ DeWitt, C. (2015). Christians and the Environment: How Should Christians Think about the Environment? - Christian Research Institute. Christian Research Institute. Retrieved 16 October 2015, from http://www.equip.org/article/christians-and-the-environment-how-should-christians-think-about-the-environment/ Does God Exist,. (2015). The Biblical Call to Environmental Stewardship - Does GodExist? - MayJun08. Doesgodexist.org. Retrieved 16 October 2015, from http://www.doesgodexist.org/MayJun08/BiblicalCalltoEnvironmentalStewardship.html Merritt, J. (2015). Green Plus Christian Isn't New Math. ChristianityToday.com. Retrieved 16 October 2015, from http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/june/26.46.html Old Earth,. (2015). Can You Be a Christian and Believe in an Old Earth?. Oldearth.org. Retrieved 16 October 2015, from http://www.oldearth.org/question.htm Open Bible,. (2015). What Does the Bible Say About Caring For The Environment?. Openbible.info. Retrieved 16 October 2015, from http://www.openbible.info/topics/caring_for_the_environment Religious Tolerance,. (2015). Wicca, the religion. Religioustolerance.org. Retrieved 16 October 2015, from http://www.religioustolerance.org/witchcra.htm SDSU,. (2015). The Toulmin Model of Argumentation. Www-rohan.sdsu.edu. Retrieved 16 October 2015, from http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~digger/305/toulmin_model.htm
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Toulmin Model Argument: What Specific
In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus spent his latter days healing and caring for the sick, dying, and possessed. This should be the way that all Christians act and taking care of the environment for the sake of the poor and needy as well as all living organisms. Regarding the faith and teaching of the Christian Bible, Christians play a vital role in the maintenance of the Earth. The
Toulmin Argument Claim: For Minorities
Specific Supports: Chang uses a few statistics as specific support such as by stating that "half of all Asian-Americans intermarry," and that Asian-Americans have the highest median income of all ethnic groups in the United States including Caucasians (p. 3). Supports are both factual and opinionated. Warrants: Warrants include the following. First, race exists. Chang claims that American culture is race-conscious even if race does not exist scientifically. Second, ethnicity and/or
Toulmin Model Argument About the Environment God has obviously put the human beings in a status of having full responsibility over the establishment. In bible in the section called Genesis 2:15 mentions "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."(2) It is understood that everyone produced are a part of God's
Praise of Cussing: Argument Analysis
4). He then goes on to give examples and states that almost all of the great executives he has worked with throughout his business career used swear words. Lochhead also mentioned that a study conducted in 2007 found that teamwork can be inspired through swearing. He illustrates these findings by sharing a personal story. He was giving a speech to over 1,000 salespeople and the crowd roared with approval
Deeds Not Words: Emotional Appeals and Argumentation Theory in the...
The Women's Movement and the Right to Vote in England Who Led the Suffragettes in England in the 20th Century Introduction After release from prison for militant suffragette activities (breaking windows, burning buildings), Christabel Pankhurst gave England to know that she was in no way mollified or subdued. Her recording of a speech asserting that now is the time for women to have the right to vote was made and disseminated and will
Argument for in Favor of Keeping Animals in Zoos
Zoo Animals Human beings have kept animals in zoos for centuries, but only relatively recently have the ethical considerations of this practice been widely considered. At one extreme are those individuals and organizations that see no problem keeping animals in zoos and other attractions, in keeping with the long history of animal confinement in the service of human entertainment, and at the other extreme are those individuals and groups arguing that
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How To Write A Toulmin Essay Outline: Structure, Explanations And Template
04 Oct 2021
What is a Toulmin essay?
How to write a toulmin model essay outline, introduction for an essay, body paragraphs, conclusion part of toulmin essay, toulmin essay outline template and example, how to write a good toulmin essay.
Do you have yet another analytical paper to write? Learning how to write a logical essay takes much practice. Many students struggle with organizing their work in a way that adequately meets their teacher’s requirements or gives a concrete analysis.
The Toulmin model essay is such an approach that is designed to help you structure your work. But if you’ve never done one before, you may be at wits end not even knowing where to begin. So we’ve put together this handy guide to help you go through the motions of putting together a Toulmin essay outline that will be on target and work to get you a good grade.
What is a T oulmin essay?
A Toulmin analysis essay focuses on building arguments that follow a logical pattern to help students develop complete ideas and validate a hypothesis. You can use it for a comparison essay or even follow a model from our argumentative essay writing services to use as a reference for your own papers.
This approach, developed by British Philosopher, Stephen Toulman is a framework based on evidence and counter-arguments. It includes six components from your claim and goes through a process to validate or refute the stated claim. So let’s examine the components of the Toulmin essay structure.
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Before writing any paper, you need a plan to approach your topic. The best choice is to create an outline. Your teacher may require an outline as part of your work. In this case be sure to structure your outline according to your courses formatting style, such as APA or MLA. Some students prefer to use a graphical format for planning out their work, creating boxes for topics, and connecting to circles for supporting references. Whichever method you choose, be sure to include the required sections to ensure you don’t leave anything out. But, unfortunately, there are cases when you don't have enough time for this. It would be a good idea to purchase essays and get them by the specified deadline.
The most critical part of your intro is your claim, which is the thesis the rest of your work will revolve around. Your claim should be easy to understand and be negotiable to give relevance to your work. But do not lead your text off with this section, first develop a nifty hook to capture interest. You may wish to include a quote related to your topic or an interesting, yet, an unknown fact to give your paper justice.
In the core part of your paper, you’ll diverge from a standard academic paper and present a structured analysis, much like a research paper. In your body paragraph outline , start with what is known as the data section. Create a line item list of relevant facts related to your hypotheses. Be sure to label them as Datum #1, Datum #2, etc. With your data spilled out, the next parts of your Toulmin analysis are your warrants.
This part explains the hows and why that support your argument is rational. List out your warrants (as you did Datum) explaining how your data justify your initial hypothesis With a good start to explain the reasons for your paper, you’ll include Backing for each warrant you had listed. This is extra details that further explain the aforementioned section. The final aspect of supporting your claim is to list out any qualifiers that explain how your warrants are valid.
One of the more interesting parts of this style is the Rebuttal portion. Here you state any counter-arguments that try to prove your claim wrong as well as any potential arguments against your Toulmin essay structure. It is important to know how to argue against yourself to present a strong analysis. So do not do a half-hearted job on this part.
To get top points in your text, be sure to conclude properly. In this type of paper, you should interpret the data through the analysis and validate or refute your claim. Be sure to state the strengths as well as weaknesses of the paper. You may also detail any shortcomings with the warrants and areas for future research. Never include new information as that belongs in the body.
The secret to success is all in a good plan and logical analysis. This is accomplished by developing a strong outline that considers points for and against your claim. Teachers often assign this task to determine your ability to think critically and develop strong ideas. In addition to the essay structure, be sure to proofread your paper for any mistakes, particularly the proper rules of using semicolons if you’re a bit rusty.
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The Toulmin method is a great style to learn if you’re given analytical work. Through its proper execution, you will learn to develop strong arguments and predict any shortcomings in your own research. But if you lack time or motivation, a professional writer may be the way to go. Give us a call and we’ll get it done for you.
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What is Toulmin Argument? | Guide & Topics & Example
In an argument, you need to convince the readers/listeners about your argument's correctness and present the evidence along with supporting ideas. Besides, you can also give your own opinion on the topic. Your argument should encourage and promote opposing views but also undermine them and disprove them.
What is Toulmin Argument?
To craft a strong and successful argument, there should be a valid justification. Toulmin Argument is a structure of argument analysis proposed by a British Philosopher Stephen Toulmin based on six components such as:
A claim is a conclusion or the statement of the argument used to convince readers or listeners. In the argumentative essay, it is also referred to as a thesis statement.
Example: Sara is a brilliant student
Ground (Proof, data, fact)
An argument's claim is based on strong evidence, fact, or data that form a logical argument.
Example: Sara is a brilliant student because her mom is a teacher.
Sara is a brilliant student (Claim) because her mom is a teacher (Ground)
Warrant (Reasoning, explanation, logic)
It is a logical assumption that acts as a bridge between the evidence and claim. It is a statement of how your evidence supports your argument.
Example: Sara is a brilliant student because her mom is a teacher and helps in her studies.
Sara is a brilliant student (Claim) because her mom is a teacher (Ground) Sara’s mom helps her in her studies (warrant)
A warrant is often left unstated and is often expressed in one of the following six forms such as :
It forms the logical assumption based on the fact that what is true of the chosen sample is likely to be true of the larger population.
Example: Sara is a brilliant student because most of the students whose parents are teachers excel in their studies.
It draws conclusions of one situation or event, comparing it to an unknown situation or event based on the similarities of its nature and consequences. An analogical warrant is usually used in legal cases and precedents of legal reasoning. What is important here is how much the two situations or contexts are alike. Whether or not there are significant, verifiable, relevant similarities?
Example : Sara is a brilliant student because she studies in a reputed institution where many other students also get 98% grade.
It is the most difficult type of warrant, and it is often confused between correlation and causation. The logical assumption is formed on the fact that one situation is the outcome of the cause or effect of another factor.
Example: Sara is a brilliant student because she takes a nutritious diet.
It draws a conclusion depending on the signs or clues that are responsible for the outcome of the situation
Example: Sara is a brilliant student because she is regular at her school.
It forms a hypothesis based on what a group of people believes to be true or agree with, especially the people with considerable knowledge, experience, status, or profession.
Example: Sara is a brilliant student because its principal and teaching staff consider her a favourite student.
It draws a conclusion based on a principle or rule widely accepted and describes a situation in which that principle probably applied.
Example: Sara is a brilliant student because she is punctual and attentive in all the lectures and dedicated to studies.
The logical explanation is based on the following questions:
- Whether or not the chosen principle is widely recognised?
- Does this conclusion apply correctly to the situation in question?
- Are there commonly acknowledged exceptions?
- Is there any critique whose principle holds a contradictory claim?
- Is the purpose of following the principle reasonably decent?
When a warrant is insufficient to respond to other people's counterclaims and arguments, you need to have strong evidence to support and defend your argument.
Example: Sara is a brilliant student because she is punctual and attentive in all the lectures, dedicated to studies. Besides, she also takes a balanced diet and follows a disciplined lifestyle.
To strengthen your argument and your position, you need to:
- Show that you are aware of your surroundings, and your conscious nature makes you look honest.
- Demonstrates your knack for conveying how you think regarding the opposing views.
It includes counterclaims to your argument and how you respond to those counterarguments.
You can respond to the counterarguments by:
- Agreeing with the opponent's claim depending on his/her proposed arguments, evidence, and merits or demerits of your argument if it is worth it.
- Disagreeing with the opponent's claim depending on the weakness of his proposed argument logically.
- Proving that the opponent's claim or perspective is irrelevant to your argument.
It includes the words and phrases you use to prove the validity of your reasoning. The phrases show:
- To which extent your argument is 100 percent true?
- Is it true in all cases, or is it true in some exceptional cases or situations?
The argument in which you use phrases such as probably, possibly, likely, sometimes, impossibly, and certainly doesn’t give the impression that you are 100%true. Instead, it shows that you are unsure about the fact or situation you are referring to, and you still need some evidence to prove it true. Whereas, when you use phrases like necessarily or surely, it shows that you are 100 percent sure about your argument
Let’s apply Toulmin’s model to the following example argument:
Video games should be banned to protect their harmful impact on youngster's health and studies.
Video games are negatively affecting youngster's health, and studies
Ground (Proof, data, fact)
Restricting video games may protect children from video game addiction
Warrant 1 : Spending a lot of time on video games negatively affects teenagers' health and studies.
Backing: According to studies, excess exposure to video games negatively affects youngster's cognitive development.
Warrant 2: Parents are responsible for providing children access to mobile phones and tabs at their early ages.
Backing: Parents can limit their youngster's exposure to video games to protect their physical and mental health.
Rebuttal: Restricting video games at home is not the solution to avoid video games as youngsters may get access to video games outside their home. On the other hand, many studies also show that video games positively affect children’s cognitive development. There is no strong evidence that video games affect youngster’s health as there could be other reasons as well influencing the health of children such as nutrition, environment, and mental stress, etc.
Qualifier: Restricting video games at home may not be the solution to minimize video game addiction. Instead, banning the production of violent or sexual video games may protect children from the harmful influence of video games. Also, switching to video games that promote educational content and improving children’s concentration, memory, and study skills would be a great option.
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Using the Toulmin Method
When learning written argument, it is always helpful to observe how others argue effectively or ineffectively. The Toulmin method, based on the work of philosopher Stephen Toulmin, is one way of analyzing a text that we read, with an eye toward responding to that particular argument (as in a writing assignment that asks us to respond) and, ultimately, toward analyzing and improving the arguments we ourselves make.
Definition of the Toulmin Method
Thorough analysis requires us to go beyond the kinds of "gut-level" responses we undergo when reading. To respond analytically to an argument is to do much more than state a basic agreement or disagreement with it; it is to determine the basis of our agreement or disagreement. In other words, analysis is a process of discovering how the argumentative strategies an author employs (the how and why levels of an argument) lead us to respond to the content (the what level) of that argument in the way that we do. Sometimes, too, such analysis can cause us to change our minds about our judgment of how effective or ineffective an argument is.
The Toulmin method, in short, is an effective way of getting to the how and why levels of the arguments we read. It is a type of textual "dissection" that allows us to break an argument into its different parts (such as claim, reasons, and evidence) so that we can make judgments on how well the different parts work together.
Why Use the Toulmin Method?
The Toulmin Method is a way of doing very detailed analysis, in which we break an argument into its various parts and decide how effectively those parts participate in the overall whole. When we use this method, we identify the argument's claim , reasons , and evidence , and evaluate the effectiveness of each.
However, it can be said that Toulmin works somewhat like a formula to be applied to arguments, and that as such it exhibits some limitations. It is often not very well applied, for example, to arguments that are not themselves organized in a linear way and written in the tradition of Western rhetoric. And, as Timothy Crusius and Carolyn E. Channell point out in The Aims of Argument , this method is limited to logical analysis, and therefore excludes other types of evaluation/analysis which are equally important (such as the Critical Reading strategies mentioned elsewhere in the Writing Center.) But Toulmin proves for many to be a good starting point.
Parts of an Argument
Using the Toulmin method requires that we take an argument apart and examine its various elements. This "dissection" allows us to understand the argument more fully, summarize it more accurately, and discuss its effectiveness or ineffectiveness more intelligently than we would have otherwise.
It might be helpful to envision writing the parts of an argument like building a house of cards, in which you work backwards, beginning with the uppermost level (the claim). Each level is balanced precariously on the level beneath it. And in order for an argument to hold up under careful scrutiny, each level must be strong enough to support what is placed on top of it.
Think of the claim in an argument as the most general statement in that argument. It may not be a particularly general statement all by itself, and some for arguments are very narrow indeed. But the claim is like the umbrella statement that all other parts of an argument have to fall under. It is the uppermost level of our "house of cards."
After you have identified an argument's claim, it is important to determine how far the author intends to carry that claim. The next step in this process, in other words, is the identification of any qualifiers or exceptions the author makes to the argument's claim.
Qualifiers are words like some, most, many, in general, usually, typically and so on--little words whose value to an argument is immeasurable.
Example of a qualified claim:
Many books by Charles Dickens are fun to read.
Example of an unqualified claim:
Books by Charles Dickens are fun to read.
Without qualifying words like some or many , a claim like this can be interpreted (by the careful analytical eye) as All books by Charles Dickens are always fun for everyone to read.
Although unqualified claims like these are not necessarily a bad argumentation strategy, they do allow ample room for challenges to be made to an argument. An appropriately qualified claim is much easier to defend.
Oftentimes, an author will specifically exclude from an argument certain cases or situations. Such exceptions serve to restrict a claim, so that it is understood to apply in some situations but not in others.
A claim like
Most books by Charles Dickens are fun to read.
might be limited by the following exception:
Having labored over David Copperfield in high school, I would not rank that book among them.
Exceptions like this one are important, because without them, readers who would like to challenge a claim may begin to concoct exceptions of their own.
Distinguishing Between Qualifiers and Exceptions
Qualifiers and exceptions are similar in that they both put limits on how far a claim may be carried. A qualifier , however, is merely a word (like some or usually ) which serves to limit a claim, while an exception is an e xample of a case or situation in which the claim does not apply.
An example of a qualifier would be the word most in the following claim:
An exception would be an example, usually appearing after the claim, of a situation in which that claim would not apply:
Why does a writer believe the claim s/he makes? The reasons a writer gives are the first line of development of any argument. To use our "house of cards" image again, reasons comprise the second level of an argument, without which the uppermost level (the claim) cannot remain balanced (or, in the language of argument, "effective").
How can we tell if reasons are strong? In other words, how can we determine whether or not they are sturdy enough to support the claim? Using the Toulmin method, we ask two main questions: Is the reason relevant to the claim it supports? and Is the reason effective?
Determining the Relevance of the Reasons
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of reasons used in an argument, we must first determine whether or not they are relevant to the claim they mean to support.
Determining the Effectiveness of the Reasons
If a reason is effective (or "good"), it invokes a value we can believe in and agree with. Value judgments, because they are by necessity somewhat subjective, are often the most difficult to make in arguments. It is, therefore, always a good idea to restate the value being invoked as clearly as possible in your own terms. Then you'll be able to evaluate whether or not the value is good in itself or worth pursuing.
If an argument's claim is
Argumentation is an important skill to learn,
No other type of writing requires a great deal of thought.
is arguably not very effective, since many people would not agree with or value this idea. (Notice, too, how qualification might help this reason.) On the other hand, a reason like
If you look at writing assignments given in various disciplines of the university, you will find that many of them include elements that are related in some way to argument
would be likely to give the impression of being effective (and supportable).
We would all probably like to believe that the people we argue with will accept our claims and reasons as perfect and complete by themselves, but most readers are unlikely to do that. They want evidence of some sort--facts, examples, statistics, expert testimony, among others--to back up our reasons. If this level of the house of cards is either unstable or absent, neither of the two levels it supports (the reasons and claim) can be effective.
To be believable and convincing, evidence should satisfy three conditions. It should be sufficient , credible , and accurate .
Determining the Sufficiency of Evidence
As you look at the evidence supporting a reason, ask yourself if the author makes use of enough evidence to convince a reasonable reader.
If one reason given in an argument is
If you look at writing assignments given in various disciplines of the university, you will find that many of them include elements that are related in some way to argument.
An example from one Engineering assignment would most likely be insufficient, where several such examples would provide a more varied range of situations in which the stated reason holds true.
Determining the Credibility of Evidence
It is important to decide how credible (believable and authoritative) a piece of evidence is within an argument. As you look at the evidence supporting a reason, ask yourself whether or not this evidence matches with readers' experience of the world. If it doesn't, does the evidence come from a source that readers would accept as more knowledgeable or authoritative than they are?
On the university level, argument is valued by professors of various disciplines who say that they would like for their students to be able to take a strong position and support it with ample reasons and evidence, statistics taken from The National Inquirer and given in support of this reason will typically be much less credible than ones taken from The Journal of Higher Education .
Determining the Accuracy of Evidence
As you look at the evidence supporting a reason, ask yourself if this evidence "tells the truth." Are statistics gathered in verifiable ways from good sources? Are the quotations complete and fair (not out of context)? Are the facts verifiable from other sources?
Sometimes it is difficult to determine accuracy without having the writer's sources in front of you, but there are oftentimes cases in which you will be suspicious of a piece of evidence for one reason or another.
If, in support of a reason like
College students are very enthusiastic about learning argumentation skills
a writer uses this piece of evidence:
In a survey conducted in my residence hall, 92% of the respondents asserted that they enjoyed writing arguments more than any other activity listed on the questionnaire,
you might be led to ask questions like "Who conducted this survey?" "Who were these respondents?" or "What were the other activities listed on the questionnaire?"
Anticipated Objections and Rebuttal
When we analyze an argument using the Toulmin method, we look for potential objections to the argument's reasons, objections which the writer expects his or her opponents to make. Usually, these are included in arguments as opportunities for the writer to present her or his own reasons as refutations/rebuttals.
Example of an Anticipated Objection
If one reason in an argument is:
On the university level, argument is valued by professors of various disciplines who say that they would like for their students to be able to take a strong position and support it with ample reasons and evidence,
the writer might hold up the following objection:
Many students argue that fields like Engineering and Math have no use for argumentation skills.
Once a writer identifies counter-arguments opponents might make, it would be self-defeating to announce those counter-arguments and not argue against them. Therefore, after stating the objections of opponents, most writers will refute or rebut the objections. Good rebuttal usually requires evidence, so don't forget to look for support for the rebuttal position in that part of an argument. Like all evidence, rebuttal evidence should be sufficient, accurate, and credible.
Example of a Rebuttal
To the anticipated objection:
Many students argue that fields like Engineering and Math have no use for argumentation skills,
a writer might offer the following rebuttal evidence,
However, a recent study appearing in journal, Language and Learning Across the Disciplines indicates that...(fill in the blank)
Drawing Conclusions from a Toulmin Analysis
Once you have completed a Toulmin analysis of an argument, your task is to collect your "results" into an overall, coherent statement about the effectiveness of that argument. In other words, if you are attempting to respond to that argument--whether in a formal response essay or in an arguing essay where you are using the argument as evidence or as opposing evidence--you will need to shape your Toulmin results into a coherent, defensible, narrow claim of your own. To see an example of how you would do this, you might go to the relevant part of the Toulmin demonstration.
Click below to access a copy of a Toulmin Worksheet, so that you may practice using the Toulmin Method of analysis on your own, using an argument in a text of your own choice. Remember, as you use this worksheet, that not all elements of an argument are nearly as formulaic as the sheet might suggest. The argument you use might, for instance, use more than three reasons, or it might use only one. Think of this worksheet as a starting point, and feel free to make whatever changes are necessary to incorporate the elements you identify in the argument you are examining.
A Toulmin Model for Analyzing Arguments (modified from Timothy W. Crusius and Carolyn E. Channell, The Aims of Argument, p. 34) Claim: Qualifier? Exceptions? *************** Reason 1 What makes this reason relevant? What makes this reason effective? What evidence supports this reason? Is this evidence sufficient? Is this evidence credible? Is this evidence accurate? Reason 2 What makes this reason relevant? What makes this reason effective? What evidence supports this reason? Is this evidence sufficient? Is this evidence credible? Is this evidence accurate? Reason 3 What makes this reason relevant? What makes this reason effective? What evidence supports this reason? Is this evidence sufficient? Is this evidence credible? Is this evidence accurate? *************************************************************** Objection: Rebuttal: Objection: Rebuttal: Objection: Rebuttal:
What follows is a sample student argument, analyzed by way of the Toulmin Method. It offers an example of how this method might be implemented as a way of breaking an argument into its parts, then examining those parts to see how they contribute to the overall effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the argument.
Analyze The Claim
Identifying the claim.
Our first step in the Toulmin Method is to identify the claim. In the case of this argument, the claim is stated in a very general way, then is elaborated on throughout the essay. (Therefore, there is no particular point in the essay where the writer states her claim in full.) However, the general statement of the claim could be said to come at the beginning of paragraph 2, where the writer argues, "It is time for us to rethink our landscaping practices." She elaborates on this somewhat in the sentence that follows: " In our arid Western climate and poor soil, the traditional lawn takes too much water, time, and harmful chemicals to maintain." The argument proceeds to prove that this is true, then offers alternatives to "the traditional lawn."
Examining the Claim for Qualifiers
Having identified and paraphrased the claim in paragraph 2 as, "It is time for us to rethink our landscaping practices," the next step in the Toulmin Method is to examine this claim to see if the writer uses any qualifiers--words like "some," "many," "most of the time," etc. In this case, there are no such qualifiers. It can sometimes be damaging to an argument to omit qualifiers, particularly if there are also no exceptions provided. It is up to you as a reader to determine whether the writer's unqualified claim is damaging to this particular argument.
Examining the Claim for Exceptions
After looking for qualifying words in the claim, the next step is to determine what the writer considers to be the situations in which her claim doesn't apply. In other words, it is necessary to identify any exceptions she makes to her claim. In her argument, although she does not mention explicitly any exceptional situations, her claim implies one.
If we look at the writer's claim in paragraph 2, "It is time for us to rethink our landscaping practices," the first thing we should ask is "Who does she refer to when she uses the word `us'?" Clearly, this writer is addressing an audience like herself: homeowners in the West (in Ft. Collins, Colorado perhaps) who are interested in landscaping. Then if we look at the introductory paragraph of the essay, we see that she has described two landscaping situations: one in her home state of Ohio, and one in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she now lives. From all of this, we can assume that the writer intends for her argument to apply primarily to lawns in the West, and that (by implication) she excludes from her argument lawns in other parts of the country, where conditions are different.
Analyze the Reasons
Identifying all the reasons.
Once you have identified and examined the claim (for qualifiers and exceptions), the next step in the Toulmin Method is to identify and examine the reasons which support this claim. In the case of this essay, two of the reasons are given in the same breath as the general claim ("It is time for us to rethink our landscaping practices") in the second paragraph. The sentence which follows this claim is, "In our arid Western climate and poor soil, the traditional lawn takes too much water, time, and harmful chemicals to maintain," and it implies two of the three reasons that the writer will address in the essay. The third reason the writer will address is this: Maintaining the traditional lawn is unnecessary, since varieties of grass that are more appropriate to the West (and "less hungry and thirsty," as the writer says in paragraph 14) are readily available. Click on the reasons below to see where they occur in the example argument.
Maintaining the traditional lawn is:
- In paragraph 2: Harmful (because of the chemicals used)
- In paragraph 2: Expensive in terms of time (time spent maintaining one's lawn) and money (water usage and cost of chemicals)
- In paragraph 11: Maintaining the traditional lawn is unnecessary, since varieties of grass that are more appropriate to the West are readily available.
Identifying and Examining Reason One
In reading on from paragraph 2 to paragraph 3 of the essay, we see that the first reason the writer addresses is the question of harm. At the beginning of paragraph 3, she broaches this question in the following way: "In Fort Collins, we must use herbicides when growing these foreign turfs." The assumption here, of course, is that these herbicides are harmful and undesirable, and the writer shows how this is so by providing evidence of the threats they pose to the environment and to humans.
We have identified Reason One as "In Fort Collins, we must use herbicides [which, by implication, are harmful] when growing these foreign turfs [like Kentucky bluegrass]." Our next step is to determine whether or not this reason is (1) relevant and (2) effective.
Determining the Relevance of Reason One
When examining this reason, it is first necessary to ask the question, "Is it relevant to the claim it attempts to support?" When we look at the claim and this first reason side by side, we see that there is a clear connection between the two.
Reason: "In Fort Collins, we must use herbicides [which, by implication, are harmful] when growing these foreign turfs [like Kentucky bluegrass]."
For this reason...
Claim: "It is time for us to rethink our landscaping practices."
Determining the Effectiveness of Reason One
After determining that Reason One is indeed relevant to the argument's claim, we may go on to determine whether or not it is effective (or "good"). In other words, does the reason invoke a value that most people (most importantly, you as a reader) can believe in and accept?
In this case, the reason, having to do with the danger of herbicides to the environment and to people, invokes the reader's fear and distaste of such harm. This may or may not seem like an effective reason to you, and if it doesn't, then this is something to remember when you complete your analysis of this argument. However, we might predict that most readers would probably feel some kind of fear or distaste for the kinds of harm that the writer refers to, thus making this an effective reason.
Moving from Reason One to Reason Two
In providing a bridge from Reason One to Reason Two, the writer draws on what we will here call Reason Three, paraphrasable as follows: Maintaining the traditional lawn is unnecessary, since varieties of grass that are more appropriate to the West are readily available. After she demonstrates that herbicides are dangerous, the writer shows that this danger is unnecessary, given the existence of buffalo grass and other varieties "that are more resistant to pests, disease, and weeds and better suited to the West" (paragraph 5). She then lists some of the merits of buffalo grass, which are (1) its appropriateness to our region and (2) the fact that it is almost maintenance-free, and therefore economical. This leads the writer directly into her second reason, which has to do with cost.
Identifying and Examining Reason Two
The writer's second reason, having to do with the cost of traditional landscaping in terms of money and time, is developed in paragraphs 6-9. (For the sake of simplicity, we will paraphrase Reason Two in the following way: "Traditional landscaping is costly in terms of both time and money.") Looking back at the essay, this reason can be most easily and clearly identified in two specific sentences:
Paragraph 6: "Choosing a variety that requires little or no watering also saves Fort Collins homeowners money." Paragraph 7: "More appropriate species of grass would save time and money by making fertilizers and amendments obsolete."
With the exception of these two sentences, the majority of the argument in paragraphs 6-9 is given to providing evidence to support these statements, as well as (in paragraph 8) mentioning the cost of having one's lawn professionally cared for.
We have identified Reason Two as (in paraphrased form) "Traditional landscaping is costly in terms of both time and money." Our next step is to determine whether or not this reason is (1) relevant and (2) effective.
Determining the Relevance of Reason Two
Reason: "Traditional landscaping is costly in terms of both time and money."
Determining the Effectiveness of Reason Two
After determining that Reason Two is indeed relevant to the argument's claim, we may go on to determine whether or not it is effective (or "good"). In other words, does the reason invoke a value that most people (most importantly, you as a reader) can believe in and accept?
In this case, the reason, having to do with the cost (in terms of both money and time) of maintaining traditional landscaping, invokes the value the reader places on money and time. This may or may not seem like an effective reason to you, and if it doesn't, then this is something to remember when you complete your analysis of this argument. However, we might predict that most readers would probably be compelled by an argument that proposes economy of both money and time. We could argue, therefore, that this is an effective reason.
Moving from Reason Two to Reason Three
In providing a bridge from Reason Two(having to do with various costs of traditional landscaping) to Reason Three(having to do with the availability of alternative varieties of grasses which are more suited to the West), the writer decides to deal with an objection she anticipates from her audience: "So how come we never hear about these alternative varieties of grasses and their benefits?" In paragraphs 10-12, the writer responds to this hypothetical objection, pointing out the biases of the lawn care industry and directing her audience toward less biased sources of information (or rather, those which are likely to give information about alternative varieties of grasses and means of landscaping).
Identifying and Examining Reason Three
As mentioned previously, we might paraphrase the writer's third reason in the following way: Maintaining the traditional lawn is unnecessary, since varieties of grass that are more appropriate to the West are readily available. Although she directly addresses the "availability" question only toward the end of her essay (in paragraphs 10-13), she refers to alternative varieties of grasses in several areas of the essay. For example, In Paragraph 5: "Varieties of grass that are more resistant to pests, disease, and weeds and better suited to the West make this risk unnecessary." In Paragraph 6: "Choosing a variety that requires little or no watering also saves Fort Collins homeowners money." In Paragraph 7: "More appropriate species of grass would save time and money by making fertilizers and amendments obsolete." In Paragraph 10: "Since the cost of maintaining an alternative lawn is so low, lawn care experts have no stake in keeping us informed about more appropriate species or in making them easy to obtain."
In paragraphs 11-13, however, the writer claims that these alternative varieties do exist and are available to Fort Collins residents, and she offers evidence to back this up.
We have identified Reason Three as (in paraphrased form) "Maintaining the traditional lawn is unnecessary, since varieties of grass that are more appropriate to the West are readily available." Our next step is to determine whether or not this reason is (1) relevant and (2) effective.
Determining the Relevance of Reason Three
Reason: "Maintaining the traditional lawn is unnecessary, since varieties of grass that are more appropriate to the West are readily available."
Determining the Effectiveness of Reason Three
After determining that Reason Three is indeed relevant to the argument's claim, we may go on to determine whether or not it is effective (or "good"). In other words, does the reason invoke a value that most people (most importantly, you as a reader) can believe in and accept?
In this case, the reason, which challenges the necessity of traditional landscaping methods and grasses when alternative ones (more appropriate to the West) are readily available, invokes the value the reader places on convenience and common sense. This may or may not seem like an effective reason to you, and if it doesn't, then this is something to remember when you complete your analysis of this argument. However, we might predict that most readers would probably be motivated by a desire to do something that "makes sense" if it is convenient to do so. Therefore, we might judge this to be an effective reason.
Identifying and Examining Evidence
Once you have identified and examined the reasons supporting the claim in an argument, your next step is to examine the evidence which, in turn, supports those reasons.
Identifying and Examining Evidence for Reason One
The writer's first reason has to do with the danger of using herbicides. In support of this reason (in paragraphs 3 and 4), she offers several pieces of evidence:
Identifying the Evidence:
- In paragraph 3, a statistic (from her source, Bormann, Balmori, and Geballe) indicating how many pounds of herbicides and pesticides Americans use each year.
- In paragraph 4, her experience with the prevalence of lawn chemical use in Ohio.
- In paragraph 4, her reference to the yellow warning flags now used in Ft. Collins when lawns are being sprayed.
Examining the Evidence:
We must first ask ourselves, "Is this evidence sufficient?" That is, we must determine whether or not there is enough evidence offered to support the reason the writer is attempting to use. In this case, given the fact that the writer uses three different pieces of evidence (one from an "official" source and two from personal experience/observation), we could argue that she uses sufficient evidence.
Our second step is to ask ourselves, "Is this evidence credible?" In other words, can we trust the evidence the writer offers us? In this case, where the writer uses what seems to be a credible source (Bormann, Balmori, and Geballe's Redesigning the American Lawn), as well as fairly commonplace, believable personal experience, we could argue that she uses credible evidence.
Our third step is to ask ourselves, "Is this evidence accurate?" This is perhaps the most difficult step in examining the evidence, simply because we can't always be sure of accuracy without having the writer's sources in front of us or without having experienced what she has experienced. In this case, there seems to be no reason to question the accuracy of the evidence given, simply because it doesn't appear unrealistic or outlandish, and it has already been shown to be reasonably credible. Sometimes, however, you might suspect that the evidence offered in support of a reason is inaccurate, and that can be an excellent way to challenge an argument.
Identifying and Examining Evidence for Reason Two
The writer's second reason has to do with the cost of traditional landscaping in terms of money and time, and it is supported (in paragraphs 6-9) with several pieces of evidence:
- In paragraph 6, statistics representing water usage (the writer's own and the average) in Fort Collins, along with information given in a phone interview with Laurie D'Audni of the Fort Collins Water Utilities.
- In paragraph 6, a statistic from her source (Bormann, Balmori, and Geballe) representing water usage in the West.
- After paragraph 6, the chart showing levels of water usage (the writer's own and the average) in Fort Collins throughout the year.
- In paragraph 7, lawn care experts' recommendation on how often fertilizer should be applied, and on how we "should aerate and thatch as well."
- In paragraph 7, personal experience--comparison of time and money spent in Fort Collins as opposed to Ohio.
- In paragraph 8: Cost of having lawn care professionally done.
- After paragraph 8, statistics on "Basic Cost per Season for Care of Bluegrass" and "Time Spent per Season in Basic Lawn Care"
Identifying and Examining Evidence for Reason Three
The writer's third reason has to do with the availability of alternative varieties of grasses which are more suited to the West. As mentioned previously, this reason is referred to throughout the essay, but it is treated most directly in paragraphs 10-13. Here is some of the evidence, given in different parts of the essay in support of the availability of alternative grasses:
- In paragraph 5, testimony from two sources (Bucks and Meyer) as to the merits of buffalo grass and wheatgrass.
- In paragraph 10, the phone number of the county extension office, where readers can get information on species of grass suitable to our area.
- In paragraph 11, quotes from an article in the Coloradoan about the difficulties of traditional turf grasses and the availability of "a new variety of zoysia, Meyer Z-52).
- In paragraph 12, a claim that alternative types of seed may be ordered (and the approximate cost of the seeds).
- paragraph 13, suggestions of plants, shrubs, and flowers that thrive in the West.
Analyze the Anticipated Objections and Rebuttal
When writing an argument, writers must anticipate any objections their audience might use to challenge that argument. In other words, they have to make sure, to the best of their ability, that they don't leave room for their audience to pull a card out of one of the levels of their "house of cards" (thereby causing the whole structure of the argument to tumble down). In this argument, the writer has addressed two possible oppositional arguments, one having to do with availability of information on alternative grasses, and one having to do with the cost of switching to alternative landscaping.
Identifying Objection One
In providing a bridge from Reason Two (having to do with various costs of traditional landscaping) to Reason Three (having to do with the availability of alternative varieties of grasses which are more suited to the West), the writer decides to deal with an objection she anticipates from her audience: "So how come we never hear about these alternative varieties of grasses and their benefits?"
Identifying & Examining Rebuttal of Objection One
In paragraphs 10-12, the writer responds to this hypothetical objection, pointing out the biases of the lawn care industry and directing her audience toward less biased sources of information (or rather, those which are likely to give information about alternative varieties of grasses and means of landscaping).
Remember, too, that rebuttal evidence must be examined just like any other evidence. In other words, we have to judge whether or not the evidence offered in the rebuttal is valid in terms of sufficiency, credibility, and accuracy. In this case, we might notice that the writer gives no real evidence that the lawn care industry is biased, but we might also decide that such a thing is common sense, and therefore is well-argued. However, if we were looking for a way to call this reasoning into question, we might want to point out that the writer lacks evidence in this area.
Identifying Objection Two
In paragraph 14, the writer anticipates that her audience might be concerned about the expense of switching from traditional to alternative landscaping.
Identifying & Examining Rebuttal of Objection Two
In forming her rebuttal to this second objection, the writer refers back to arguments she made in paragraph 6 about "the cost saved on water and maintenance." She also mentions in paragraph 14 the possibilities of shrinking lawn space and "giv[ing it] over to heat and drought-resistant varieties of flowers, trees, shrubs, and groundcovers." Finally, she mentions the ways that people can save money by "choosing varieties that are perennial or reseed themselves."
Remember, too, that rebuttal evidence must be examined just like any other evidence. In other words, we have to judge whether or not the evidence offered in the rebuttal is valid in terms of sufficiency, credibility, and accuracy. In this case, we will remember that she has already supported her argument about "the cost saved on water and maintenance." And we might consider that her arguments about shrinking lawn space and about "choosing varieties that are perennial or reseed themselves" to be self-evident (common-sensical), and therefore well-argued. However, if we were looking for a way to call her reasoning into question, we might want to point out that the writer lacks evidence on these last two points.
Draw Conclusions from a Toulmin Analysis
After completing this Toulmin Analysis of the essay, "Landscaping that Makes Sense for the West," it is our task to determine how to "interpret" the results. In other words, how do we take what we have discovered about the argument through analysis and translate it into a formal response to that argument?
The first step in drawing conclusions is to collect the results of our analysis. To do this, we go back to our responses on the different levels of our "house of cards": claim, reasons, evidence, and anticipated objections/rebuttal. In the case of our sample argument, we have determined that the writer's reasons and much of her evidence are quite strong. Some of her evidence is not as documentable as other evidence, and we could examine her claim (for lack of qualifications) and her rebuttal evidence more closely, but for the most part, our responses at the various levels of this analysis have been positive.
Is the Argument Compelling to You?
The first question you might ask yourself when "interpreting" the results of your analysis is a very general (and emotionally-based) question: Does this argument appeal to me? If it does appeal, then why and how does it appeal? In other words, how do the responses we made about the claim, reasons, evidence, etc. reinforce (or contradict) our "gut-level" response to the argument we have read? In the case of our example argument, we might say that the essay seems immediately compelling for a number of reasons (style, use of examples, the attractive color photo, etc.); then we might note that our overall response to and analysis of the parts of the argument supports this gut-level response.
What is the Overall Effectiveness/Ineffectiveness of the Argument?
In looking at the results of your analysis, it is important to notice how effective or ineffective the argument is based on the strengths or weaknesses you have noticed in the different parts of that argument. This is the part of interpretation which demands that you go beyond your gut-level responses to acknowledge (as "objectively" and as truthfully as possible) the parts of the argument which achieve their purpose effectively, and the parts which do this less effectively. Again, looking at our sample essay, we could argue that most of the parts of the argument (like the claim, reasons, and most evidence) are structured, supported, and expressed effectively, while there are very few areas of possible ineffectiveness (in credibility of evidence, thoroughness of rebuttal, or qualification of claim, for instance).
Overall, though, this argument would probably be considered a strong and well-supported one by most readers, and it is a bit of a stretch even to discuss these few areas of possible ineffectiveness.
Writing a Claim
The last stage of your analysis (and the first stage of writing a response to the essay) is to formulate a claim of your own, based on your analytical reading of the argument. In the case of our sample argument, our claim might read as follows: "Although this writer's argument has elements that might be slightly better qualified, supported, or documented, overall her argument for alternative landscaping is compelling and effective." (Of course, if as a reader you were inclined to disagree with her argument or to be critical of some of the reasons or evidence she offers, your claim would look quite different from this one.)
Nesbitt, Laurel. (2001). Using the Toulmin Method. [email protected] . Colorado State University. https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/guide.cfm?guideid=58
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Choose Your Test
Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 50 great argumentative essay topics for any assignment.
At some point, you’re going to be asked to write an argumentative essay. An argumentative essay is exactly what it sounds like—an essay in which you’ll be making an argument, using examples and research to back up your point.
But not all argumentative essay topics are created equal. Not only do you have to structure your essay right to have a good impact on the reader, but even your choice of subject can impact how readers feel about your work.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of writing argumentative essays, including what argumentative essays are, how to write a good one, and how to pick a topic that works for you. Then check out a list of argumentative essay ideas to help you get started.
What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is one that makes an argument through research. These essays take a position and support it through evidence, but, unlike many other kinds of essays, they are interested in expressing a specific argument supported by research and evidence.
A good argumentative essay will be based on established or new research rather than only on your thoughts and feelings. Imagine that you’re trying to get your parents to raise your allowance, and you can offer one of two arguments in your favor:
You should raise my allowance because I want you to.
You should raise my allowance because I’ve been taking on more chores without complaining.
The first argument is based entirely in feelings without any factual backup, whereas the second is based on evidence that can be proven. Your parents are more likely to respond positively to the second argument because it demonstrates that you have done something to earn the increased allowance. Similarly, a well-researched and reasoned argument will show readers that your point has a basis in fact, not just feelings.
The standard five-paragraph essay is common in writing argumentative essays, but it’s not the only way to write one. An argumentative essay is typically written in one of two formats, the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model.
The Toulmin model is the most common, comprised of an introduction with a claim (otherwise known as a thesis), with data to support it. This style of essay will also include rebuttals, helping to strengthen your argument by anticipating counterarguments.
The Rogerian model analyzes two sides of an argument and reaches a conclusion after weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Both essay styles rely on well-reasoned logic and supporting evidence to prove a point, just in two different ways.
The important thing to note about argumentative essays as opposed to other kinds of essays is that they aim to argue a specific point rather than to explain something or to tell a story. While they may have some things in common with analytical essays, the primary difference is in their objective—an argumentative essay aims to convince someone of something, whereas an analytical essay contextualizes a topic with research.
What Makes a Good Argumentative Essay?
To write an effective argumentative essay, you need to know what a good one looks like. In addition to a solid structure, you’ll need an argument, a strong thesis, and solid research.
Unlike other forms of essays, you are trying to convince your reader of something. You’re not just teaching them a concept or demonstrating an idea—you’re constructing an argument to change the readers’ thinking.
You’ll need to develop a good argument, which encompasses not just your main point, but also all the pieces that make it up.
Think beyond what you are saying and include how you’re saying it. How will you take an idea and turn it into a complex and well thought out argument that is capable of changing somebody’s mind?
A Strong Thesis
The thesis is the core of your argument. What specific message are you trying to get across? State that message in one sentence, and that will be your thesis.
This is the foundation on which your essay is built, so it needs to be strong and well-reasoned. You need to be able to expand on it with facts and sources, not just feelings.
A good argumentative essay isn’t just based on your individual thoughts, but research. That can be citing sources and other arguments or it can mean direct research in the field, depending on what your argument is and the context in which you are arguing it.
Be prepared to back your thesis up with reporting from scientific journals, newspapers, or other forms of research. Having well-researched sources will help support your argument better than hearsay or assumptions. If you can’t find enough research to back up your point, it’s worth reconsidering your thesis or conducting original research, if possible.
How to Come Up With an Argumentative Essay Topic
Sometimes you may find yourself arguing things you don’t necessarily believe. That’s totally fine—you don’t actually have to wholeheartedly believe in what you’re arguing in order to construct a compelling argument.
However, if you have free choice of topic, it’s a good idea to pick something you feel strongly about. There are two key components to a good argumentative essay: a strong stance, and an assortment of evidence. If you’re interested and feel passionate about the topic you choose, you'll have an easier time finding evidence to support it, but it's the evidence that's most important.
So, to choose a topic, think about things you feel strongly about, whether positively or negatively. You can make a list of ideas and narrow those down to a handful of things, then expand on those ideas with a few potential points you want to hit on.
For example, say you’re trying to decide whether you should write about how your neighborhood should ban weed killer, that your school’s lunch should be free for all students, or that the school day should be cut by one hour. To decide between these ideas, you can make a list of three to five points for each that cover the different evidence you could use to support each point.
For the weed killer ban, you could say that weed killer has been proven to have adverse impacts on bees, that there are simple, natural alternatives, and that weeds aren’t actually bad to have around. For the free lunch idea, you could suggest that some students have to go hungry because they can’t afford lunch, that funds could be diverted from other places to support free lunch, and that other items, like chips or pizza, could be sold to help make up lost revenue. And for the school day length example, you could argue that teenagers generally don’t get enough sleep, that you have too much homework and not enough time to do it, and that teenagers don’t spend enough time with their families.
You might find as you make these lists that some of them are stronger than others. The more evidence you have and the stronger you feel that that evidence is, the better the topic. Of course, if you feel that one topic may have more evidence but you’d rather not write about it, it’s okay to pick another topic instead. When you’re making arguments, it can be much easier to find strong points and evidence if you feel passionate about our topic than if you don't.
50 Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas
If you’re struggling to come up with topics on your own, read through this list of argumentative essay topics to help get you started!
- Should fracking be legal?
- Should parents be able to modify their unborn children?
- Do GMOs help or harm people?
- Should vaccinations be required for students to attend public school?
- Should world governments get involved in addressing climate change?
- Should Facebook be allowed to collect data from its users?
- Should self-driving cars be legal?
- Is it ethical to replace human workers with automation?
- Should there be laws against using cell phones while driving?
- Has the internet positively or negatively impacted human society?
- Should college athletes be paid for being on sports teams?
- Should coaches and players make the same amount of money?
- Should sports be segregated by gender?
- Should the concept of designated hitters in baseball be abolished?
- Should US sports take soccer more seriously?
- Should religious organizations have to pay taxes?
- Should religious clubs be allowed in schools?
- Should “one nation under God” be in the pledge of allegiance?
- Should religion be taught in schools?
- Should clergy be allowed to marry?
- Should minors be able to purchase birth control without parental consent?
- Should the US switch to single-payer healthcare?
- Should assisted suicide be legal?
- Should dietary supplements and weight loss items like teas be allowed to advertise through influencers?
- Should doctors be allowed to promote medicines?
- Is the electoral college an effective system for modern America?
- Should Puerto Rico become a state?
- Should voter registration be automatic?
- Should people in prison be allowed to vote?
- Should Supreme Court justices be elected?
- Should sex work be legalized?
- Should Columbus Day be replaced with Indigenous Peoples’ Day?
- Should the death penalty be legal?
- Should animal testing be allowed?
- Should drug possession be decriminalized?
- Should unpaid internships be legal?
- Should minimum wage be increased?
- Should monopolies be allowed?
- Is universal basic income a good idea?
- Should corporations have a higher or lower tax rate?
- Are school uniforms a good idea?
- Should PE affect a student’s grades?
- Should college be free?
- Should Greek life in colleges be abolished?
- Should students be taught comprehensive sex ed?
- Should graffiti be considered art or vandalism?
- Should books with objectionable words be banned?
- Should content on YouTube be better regulated?
- Is art education important?
- Should art and music sharing online be allowed?
How to Argue Effectively
A strong argument isn’t just about having a good point. If you can’t support that point well, your argument falls apart.
One of the most important things you can do in writing a strong argumentative essay is organizing well. Your essay should have a distinct beginning, middle, and end, better known as the introduction, body and opposition, and conclusion.
This example follows the Toulmin model—if your essay follows the Rogerian model, the same basic premise is true, but your thesis will instead propose two conflicting viewpoints that will be resolved through evidence in the body, with your conclusion choosing the stronger of the two arguments.
Your hook should draw the reader’s interest immediately. Questions are a common way of getting interest, as well as evocative language or a strong statistic
Don’t assume that your audience is already familiar with your topic. Give them some background information, such as a brief history of the issue or some additional context.
Your thesis is the crux of your argument. In an argumentative essay, your thesis should be clearly outlined so that readers know exactly what point you’ll be making. Don’t explain all your evidence in the opening, but do take a strong stance and make it clear what you’ll be discussing.
Your claims are the ideas you’ll use to support your thesis. For example, if you’re writing about how your neighborhood shouldn’t use weed killer, your claim might be that it’s bad for the environment. But you can’t just say that on its own—you need evidence to support it.
Evidence is the backbone of your argument. This can be things you glean from scientific studies, newspaper articles, or your own research. You might cite a study that says that weed killer has an adverse effect on bees, or a newspaper article that discusses how one town eliminated weed killer and saw an increase in water quality. These kinds of hard evidence support your point with demonstrable facts, strengthening your argument.
In your essay, you want to think about how the opposition would respond to your claims and respond to them. Don’t pick the weakest arguments, either— figure out what other people are saying and respond to those arguments with clearly reasoned arguments.
Demonstrating that you not only understand the opposition’s point, but that your argument is strong enough to withstand it, is one of the key pieces to a successful argumentative essay.
Conclusions are a place to clearly restate your original point, because doing so will remind readers exactly what you’re arguing and show them how well you’ve argued that point.
Summarize your main claims by restating them, though you don’t need to bring up the evidence again. This helps remind readers of everything you’ve said throughout the essay.
End by suggesting a picture of a world in which your argument and action are ignored. This increases the impact of your argument and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
A strong argumentative essay is one with good structure and a strong argument , but there are a few other things you can keep in mind to further strengthen your point.
When you’re crafting an argument, it can be easy to get distracted by all the information and complications in your argument. It’s important to stay focused—be clear in your thesis and home in on claims that directly support that thesis.
It’s important that your claims and evidence be based in facts, not just opinion. That’s why it’s important to use reliable sources based in science and reporting—otherwise, it’s easy for people to debunk your arguments.
Don’t rely solely on your feelings about the topic. If you can’t back a claim up with real evidence, it leaves room for counterarguments you may not anticipate. Make sure that you can support everything you say with clear and concrete evidence, and your claims will be a lot stronger!
No matter what kind of essay you're writing, a strong plan will help you have a bigger impact. This guide to writing a college essay is a great way to get started on your essay organizing journey!
Brushing up on your essay format knowledge to prep for the SAT? Check out this list of SAT essay prompts to help you kickstart your studying!
A bunch of great essay examples can help you aspire to greatness, but bad essays can also be a warning for what not to do. This guide to bad college essays will help you better understand common mistakes to avoid in essay writing!
Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!
Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.
Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.
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2.3: Final Toulmin Analysis Essay
- Last updated
- Save as PDF
- Page ID 94305
- Andrew Gurevich
- Mt Hood Community College via MHCC Library Press
Strong thesis, sentence structure, paragraph cohesion & conceptual ﬂow, integration of relevant & authoritative sources, focused intro & conclusion. Use of Toulmin Analysis as the basis for your evaluation.
In class we will discuss and evaluate the method of argument analysis developed by the British philosopher Stephen Toulmin. Afterwards, you will select one of the essays from the assigned section of our Blackboard page and write a Toulmin analysis of the argument(s) presented in the essay.
5-7 Pages, Double-spaced, MLA format.
- Select an essay from the assigned section of our Blackboard page.
- In your introduction, explore the overall topic, the main thesis of the article you are analyzing and your thesis on whether or not you find the argument effective and convincing. What, in Toulmin terms, makes the argument strong or weak?
- Try to find the central claim of the article you are analyzing. How do you know it is the claim? Is it stated or implied? Is it a claim of fact , value or policy ? Does the author provide a qualifier and/or a rebuttal for their claim? If not, does the absence of these elements weaken the claim or not?
- Look at the data/evidence the author provides for their claim. Is the evidence clear? Is it fair? Is it relevant, reliable and representative? Do you get a sense that the author has selectively chosen evidence and ignored other evidence in order to strengthen their claim? Can you demonstrate this? Does the evidence support the particular type of claim the author has made (fact, value or policy)? Build upon the research you did in your Annotated Bibliography to help you to help you determine how relevant, authoritative and reliable the data is which the author of your chosen ar- ticle provides in support of its claim.
- Use examples from relevant sources (in the form of quotation, summary, and paraphrase) and your own discussion to create this thesis-driven essay. Try to move beyond just retelling your experience or opinion. You need to look at the underlying claims ABOUT the topic as well as what the most reliable and authoritative sources you can find have to say about it.
- Can you identify the warrant (the unstated assumption that connects the claim and the data) of the essay you are reading? Does the warrant do a sufficient job of connecting the data to the warrant? Why or why not? Is it a substantive (logos-based), authoritative (ethos-based) or motivational (pathos-based) warrant? Does this type of warrant best suit the type of claim the author is making and the type of evidence they provide to support this claim?
- Does the author provide backing (evidence) for their warrant? If not, would the presence of evidence for their warrant strengthen the argument in any way? Why or why not?
- Is there anything in the essay that needs an extended definition? How might this affect the overall argument with regard to the Toulmin-labeled relationships between the ideas?
- What is your assessment of the overall effectiveness of the argument? Is it persuasive? Why or why not? What, in Toulmin terms, could be changed to make it more persuasive?
- Be able to analyze a larger cultural issue and respond to it.
- Be able to clearly present your interpretation of the issue, without personal bias or with clear, relevant and authoritative support for the bias using the Toulmin model of argument analysis.
- Be able to use summary, paraphrase, and quotation of relevant sources in your analysis.
- Be able to clearly express your own thoughts about the topic under discussion.
- Be able to create graceful transitions, introduction, and conclusion to tie together the various parts of your essay.
- Present your argument or position in a clear thesis statement in the introduction.
- Support your claim or focus with evidence and examples from relevant, reliable and representative sources. The body of your essay will explore the major points related to your thesis.
- Present one major point (presented in a topic sentence) per paragraph and explain it fully, with detailed support and examples, before you move on to your next point/paragraph.
- Wrap up your essay with a conclusion that revisits your overall topic and theme.
- Take advantage of the WR 122 Library Guide (on our Blackboard page) for help with finding relevant sources, getting your essay into MLA format and all other aspects of the research and writing process.
- Consult the MHCC databases for relevant articles related to your research.
- You may also use popular search engines, interviews and other reliable, authoritative means of support to develop your thesis.
Format & Length
- 5-7 pages, double-spaced, 12.pt font. (Times New Roman, Arial or Helvetica)
- MLA format. (Please consult your textbook and our Library page for help with MLA. Newer versions of Microsoft Word come with an MLA template as well. You have access to Microsoft Office as a student.
- Consult the Class Syllabus and Overview for instructions on how to download it. Remember, MLA primarily means how you structure the first page headings, proper in-text citations and a properly formatted “Works Cited” page).
- A minimum of 4 reliable, relevant external sources cited in the essay and on a properly formatted Works Cited page.
- Give your paper an original title that is NOT simply “Final Essay” or “Social Media Essay.”
- Grab the reader’s attention, provide a BRIEF summary of the major themes and your overall thesis (main point) in the introduction of your essay.
- Wrap up your essay with a conclusion that revisits your overall topic, theme and thesis.
- View Toulmin Worksheet #1
- View Toulmin Worksheet #2
Due Date & Other Details
- Your essay is due at our final class meeting. See calendar and course schedule for more details.
- Take a draft of your essay to the Writing Center (link on our Blackboard Page) for feedback & extra credit. Include a signed document in your submission.
- Please type your paper, double-spaced, in a readable font (about 12-point). Be sure to have someone look over your paper, after you have polished the final draft, to catch any mechanical errors. Final drafts turned in should be entirely free of such errors.
- Make sure you are using the elements of argument construction and analysis we have learned this term to strengthen the presentation of your ideas. For instance, make sure you have established proper authority with your sources, have sufficient and reliable data, make appropriate appeals to pathos, and have a proper warrant that connects your evidence to your thesis.
- Make sure to consider and include substantive responses to the major arguments on both (or all) sides of the argument in question. Especially those in opposition to your thesis.
Sample Toulmin Argument Now that you have had the chance to learn about Toulmin, it's time to see what a Toulmin argument might look like. Below, you'll see a sample argumentative essay, written according to MLA formatting guidelines, with a particular emphasis on Toulmin elements. Click the image below to open a PDF of the sample paper.
Developed by philosopher Stephen E. Toulmin, the Toulmin method is a style of argumentation that breaks arguments down into six component parts: claim, grounds, warrant, qualifier, rebuttal, and backing. In Toulmin's method, every argument begins with three fundamental parts: the claim, the grounds, and the warrant.
Three argumentative methods —the Toulmin Method, Classical Method, and Rogerian Method— give guidance for how to organize the points in an argument. Note that these are only three of the most popular models for organizing an argument. Alternatives exist. Be sure to consult your instructor and/or defer to your assignment's directions if ...
Sample of a Toulmin argument model Claim: My husband should wear a hearing aid. Grounds: Over 70% of all people over age 65 have a hearing difficulty. Hearing aids raise hearing quality. Warrant: A hearing aid helps most people hear better. Qualifier: Hearing aids help most people. Backing: Hearing aids are available locally.
Argumentative Essay Example 1 As online learning becomes more common and more and more resources are converted to digital form, some people have suggested that public libraries should be shut down and, in their place, everyone should be given an iPad with an e-reader subscription.
Here is one of the most effective claims we have found in one Toulmin essay example: "Medical resources in the United States should be accessible for free." Data. Once you have made a statement, you need to provide the audience with the relevant data that proves your point of view.
The Toulmin method lies the true strength of an argument over the rebuttal, which is the acknowledgment that there might be another opinion that differs from the one that's being argued. For example: Rebuttal: A neighbor saw the police officers eating donuts inside their car in the street two nights ago.
An example of the Toulmin warrant is: " The more accessible educational resources are, the better educational results will be achieved by school students ." This assertion is related to the issue of educational resources. On the other hand, it is a value statement; i.e. it exposes a given point of view rooted in morality.
View Toulmin Essay Sample-1.pdf from ENGLISH 1C at Kenyatta University. Student Talented Student Professor Richey English 1C 28 October 2018 Using the Toulmin Method to Fight for Gun Control Stephen ... Davis writes with the goal of creating a strong argument on why gun shows should be banned,while using several elements of the famous ...
First of all, it is important to look at the current trend in global warming. The national Geographic (1) indicates that the average temperatures on the earth's surface have gone up by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 0.8 degrees Celsius.
Make a claim. Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim. Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim) Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives. The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays.
Toulmin Argument on American Families Up to 30 years ago, divorces were difficult to obtain and were very rare in American society. However, in 1969, the advent of no-fault divorce laws caused a spike in divorce rates.
Toulmin Argument. The Toulmin method, developed by philosopher Stephen Toulmin , is essentially a structure for analyzing arguments. But the elements for analysis are so clear and structured that many professors now have students write argumentative essays with the elements of the Toulmin method in mind. This type of argument works well when ...
The Toulmin Model of Argument In his work on logic and argument, The Uses of Argument, Stephen Toulmin indicates three major, necessary parts of an argument, along with three additional, optional parts. The three major parts are the claim, the support, and the warrants. Claim: This is the main point, the thesis, the controlling idea. The claim
The argumentative essay outline example below shows the recommended order in which to put these elements: I. Introduction A. Open with a hook, if you can, to garner interest B. Explain the topic and its necessary context C. Make your thesis statement II. Present the grounds (hard evidence) to validate your thesis
Toulmin Model Argument About the Environment God has obviously put the human beings in a status of having full responsibility over the establishment. In bible in the section called Genesis 2:15 mentions "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."
A Toulmin analysis essay focuses on building arguments that follow a logical pattern to help students develop complete ideas and validate a hypothesis. You can use it for a comparison essay or even follow a model from our argumentative essay writing services to use as a reference for your own papers. Toulmin model
Let's apply Toulmin's model to the following example argument: Video games should be banned to protect their harmful impact on youngster's health and studies. Claim (Conclusion) Video games are negatively affecting youngster's health, and studies Ground (Proof, data, fact) Restricting video games may protect children from video game addiction
The Toulmin Method is a way of doing very detailed analysis, in which we break an argument into its various parts and decide how effectively those parts participate in the overall whole. When we use this method, we identify the argument's claim, reasons, and evidence, and evaluate the effectiveness of each.
The Toulmin Model of Argument is a framework used to understand and create logical and effective arguments in writing or speaking. British philosopher Stephen E. Toulmin introduced this method in ...
This example follows the Toulmin model—if your essay follows the Rogerian model, the same basic premise is true, but your thesis will instead propose two conflicting viewpoints that will be resolved through evidence in the body, with your conclusion choosing the stronger of the two arguments. Introduction Hook
Use of Toulmin Analysis as the basis for your evaluation. In class we will discuss and evaluate the method of argument analysis developed by the British philosopher Stephen Toulmin. Afterwards, you will select one of the essays from the assigned section of our Blackboard page and write a Toulmin analysis of the argument (s) presented in the essay.
example, based on a previously assigned reading). They will also have already read about enthymemes and the Toulmin system in their textbook. (I use chapter four of Writing Arguments, by Ramage, Bean and Johnson.) The instructor will need a computer, a projector, the PowerPoint slides, and a timer preferably with an audible alarm.