SIUC Dept. of Communication Studies RSOs
If you’re looking for a great way to structure persuasive arguments, look no further than the Toulmin Model of Argumentation. This model was created by the philosopher Stephen Toulmin as a way to analyze people’s arguments. He believed that the best arguments fit into the same structure and were based on how well the argument was justified. If an argument was correctly justified, it would stand up to scrutiny by the audience. Since the model was developed, people have found it is also incredibly effective when they are developing their arguments. You can use this model to help structure a persuasive essay or a persuasive speech.
According to Toulmin, all successful arguments contain a claim, a warrant, and grounds. Arguments may also contain qualifiers, backing, and rebuttals. Let’s look at each of those terms a little more closely.
The first set of three terms are the essential components of practical arguments.
A claim is your main point. It is an assertion that you are making in an argument. The claim cannot stand on its own, so it must be developed to be successful. In an essay or speech, this will likely be your thesis or conclusion.
Grounds are the supporting facts for your argument. These are ideas that have been shown to be true. You can use facts like statistics or scientific data, or you can use logic and reasoning. Grounds must be accepted as or proven true.
A warrant is a link between the claim and the grounds. A warrant may be implied and not directly stated if it is common knowledge. If you are unsure if the audience has this common knowledge, it is important that you state the warrant explicitly.
The second set of three terms are not always required (but can be extremely helpful to ensure that your argument is solid).