Toulmin Analysis Essay


(consult syllabus for due date)
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 Part Five of your textbook (pages 477ff) and write a Toulmin analysis of the argument(s) presented in the essay. 3-4 Pages,

Double-spaced, MLA format.

1. Select a topic from Part 5 of your textbook (pages 477ff) that you are interested in and read all of the essays in that section.

2. Select one (or two) essay from the section that stands out to you. Read the entire essay at least once more to get an overall feel for its tone,

structure and logic.

3. Try to find the central claim. How do you know it is the claim? Is it stated or implied? Is it a claim of fact, value or policy?

4. Look at the 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)?

5. Can you identify the warrant (the thing that connects the claim and the data) of the essay you are reading? Is it stated or implied? Does the

warrant do a sufficient job of connecting the data to the warrant? Why or why not? Is it a substantive, authoritative or moral 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?

6. Is there anything in the essay that needs an extended definition? How might this affect the overall argument with regard to the Toulmin model

relationships between the ideas?

7. 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? For instance, perhaps a claim of policy might need to be changed to a claim of value, or vice versa?