A Toulmin-based approach focuses on what readers value, but the writer has a clear intent to convince readers of the claim. Support to help convince readers often includes statistics, data, scholarly analyses, and documented research. Irrefutable authoritative sources serve to bolster what readers think and value. Definitive statements in the argument build a solid case that readers find well-supported and convincing. Writers may include a rebuttal in the argument focusing on the opposition’s views, but the intent is to effectively refute these views.
There are six elements that are important to the Toulmin method. Examples are in quotations.
1. Claim — The claim is an explicit statement of opinion that the writer asks his or her audience to accept as true.
“The Affordable Care Act must be dismantled to help our healthcare crisis.”
2. Grounds — The grounds are the facts or data or reasoning upon which the claim is based. Essentially, the grounds are the facts making the case for the claim.
“The average healthcare plan through the Affordable Care Act cost $197 per month in 2013. In 2018, the average plan was $440 per month — a 123 percent increase.”
3. Warrant — 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.
“The working poor cannot afford the Affordable Care Act, which was the main purpose of this government legislation.”
4. Backing — These statements give additional support for the claim (usually consists of secondary evidence, opinions linked to facts, or reason).
5. Rebuttal and/or Qualifier — The rebuttal is when the author addresses the opposing views.
The qualifier is essentially the limits to the claim or an understanding that the claim is not true in all situations.
“Although the Affordable Care Act has helped some Americans, this unstable medical coverage has created uncertainty and fear for many.”
Your Toulmin topic can argue anything political, environmental, educational, cultural, social, or health related that interests you. A Toulmin argument must have a clear, strong claim with the intent to persuade readers that your position is valid, logical, and effective.
You cannot argue abortion, legalizing marijuana, death penalty, and school uniforms, or gender based violence—we’ve heard these arguments many times before, and it is hard to find new angles, assertions, and arguments to share.
Remember, you cannot argue something that is not controversial such as: “Texting/Drinking and Driving is Dangerous” or “Fast Food is an Unhealthy Diet Choice.” If the majority of people agree with your thesis, it lacks controversy, so find another topic.
PAPER MUST HAVES:
-Minimum of three pages
-Minimum of four credible sources to support your arguments
-Work Cited page