The Toulmin model is a way of argumentation that breaks down and analyze arguments
into different elements. This kind of arguments is more suitable when there is no immediate
solution or an apparent truth to a problem. The Toulmin model of argument considers the
complex structure of most situations. The Toulmin model includes; the claim, the grounds, the
warrant, the qualifier, the rebuttal, and the backing. These different elements help readers to
analyze arguments and evaluate its validity. The elements also play a crucial part in assisting
writers while writing a view to ensure the audience will note the reality in the claims made.
Among the six elements, there are three crucial elements present in every argument: the
claim, the support, and the warrant. These are the significant elements upon which all opinions
are made. The other three parts are as well essential and are used to build upon the first three.
There are specific vital questions that one should consider for an argument's efficacy and clarity.
One is what position do I need the audience to take. Second is the beginning point for my
audience so that they agree with my claim. The other is the connection between the ground and
the claim. Fourth is the safety and reliability of the move from the support to the claim. The fifth
is the possibilities that frustrate the argument, and lastly is whether there is a need to use a
qualifier. This way, it becomes easier to analyze and come up with a conclusion to an argument.
The claim is the first part of the Toulmin model. In an argument, it is the most general
statement and acts as the umbrella statement under which all other discussions have to fall under.
It is one of the most critical parts of an argument because the effectiveness, complexity and the
quality of the whole idea are pegged on the claim. If the request is obvious or boring, then there
is a high likelihood that the entire argument will sound obvious too. Similarly, the claim sets the
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goals and gives the whole idea direction when supported by expert opinion, evidence and
The Toulmin Model grounds are the reasoning, facts, and data under which the claim is
made. The settings make a case for the claim. For instance, if we have a claim that more laws be
put in place to curb the use of phones while driving to reduce car accidents, then we would
probably support this claim by giving a statistic that suggests; the road safety authority estimates
1.9 million accidents per year caused by the use of mobile phones while driving. This ground
offers data, statistics or facts under which the claims have been made. The grounds act as an
anchor to the claim.
The warrant acts as a link between the support and the claim. It helps the audience
understand how the support is connected to the claim. According to Dr Stephen Toulmin, who
came up with this model, the link between the support and the claim may not be direct. In most
cases, people make claims and have statistical evidence to support it but on the other hand, invest
little time explaining the link between them. The warrant is the most delicate part of an
argument. In our case example, the warrant would probably be, distraction by a mobile phone
while driving is hazardous and may lead to accidents.
The backing gives extra support to the warrant by giving additional cases that justify the
warrant. It also addresses different questions that are related to the claim made. In our case
example, our warrant would better be backed up by, with more significant penalties and mass
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education on the consequences of using mobile phones while driving, the audience may think
twice about using their mobile phones while driving. it
gives a back up on the warrant and at the same time provides extra support for the claims
made by introducing the issue of penalties and mass education.
All arguments have at some point have contrary opinions before reaching a consensus.
The rebuttal acknowledges and seeks to addresses such contrary views to the argument. Writers
and authors use rebuttal to arguments to strengthen the original argument. With reference to the
case example, we could provide rebuttal and say. However, law enforcement agencies are
occupied with other duties, laws to curb the use of mobile phones while driving be made a
priority to save money, time, and more importantly, lives. Local agencies can add extra
personnel to help address this as a priority. In that case, the rebuttal considers the contrary
opinion on making anti-mobile laws while driving a focus.
All claims have a limitation. The qualifier acts as a limitation to the claim, or an
acknowledgement that the claim made is not always valid. Qualifiers serve as a pillar to the
claim because they help the people understand that the author may not necessarily expect his
opinion to be right or his ideas always to be correct. Qualifiers such as always or never are too
broad to support a claim. Whereas this is the case, qualifiers such as many or some will act as a
limitation to the claim and give additional strength to the claim. For our case example, we could
say, more laws should be put in place to regulate the use of mobile phones while driving to
reduce some dangerous car accidents happening each year.
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Having a qualifier or rebuttal as part of an argument helps build the credibility of the argument.
When one acknowledges that his personal view is not always right or gives several views of a
problem, you portray the perspective of an unbiased careful thinker rather than an image of
someone selfishly pushing for one interpretation of a situation. The Tuolmin Model is valuable,
flexible and heuristic and can be easily taught and applied in analyzing any kind of argument. Its
heuristic and valuable nature can easily be identified in the development of ideas while its
flexibility is exhibited in the fact that it involves deductive and inductive reasoning.
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Levlin, J. (2019, April 4). Using The Toulmin Model to Create Powerful Arguments –
Argumentation Technique. The Great Courses Daily.
Purdue Writing Lab. (2018). Toulmin Argument // Purdue Writing Lab. Purdue Writing Lab.
Weblin, M. (2018). Toulmin Argument – Excelsior College OWL. Excelsior College OWL.