Toulmin Arguments



     To create a Toulmin's Argument thesis, just state your opinion point-blank. Like in the below example in the Structure portion, the claim/thesis is "Juicy Fruit is the Best Gum Ever!"

How do we Structure a Toulmin's Argument?

     If you were to write a paper using Toulmin's argument method, first you must state your claim. Following that answer why; why is that claim true? You can support ("backing up") this with fact, or your own knowledge.

       With the below example the claim is "Juicy fruit is the best gum ever"; one of his reason is that juicy fruit taste the best. He backs this up with his knowledge that gum must taste good (warrant). Then provides evidence.

        The writer continued this pattern throughout the outline:

 State Claim:
                               A.  Reason

                               B.  Warrant/Principle
                               C.  Evidence/Backing up
                               D.  May have a Rebuttal

Project’s Claim
: Juicy Fruit is the Best Gum Ever!

Reason #1
Juicy Fruit is the best tasting gum.
  • Warrant/Principle: Good gum must taste good.
    • Backing: (This is a pretty “well duh” warrant that probably wouldn’t need any backing. In other words, would anyone disagree with this warrant?)
  • Evidence #1: Consumer Reports survey compared the taste of Juicy Fruit with other types of gum.
    • Warrant/Principle: People trust research done by the Consumer Reports magazine
      • Backing: Consumer Reports is not invested in the research. They do not care which gum tastes best.
      • Backing: Consumer Reports uses research methods that are sound.
      • Backing: Consumer Reports studies usually include a lot of people in the research; in other words, they don’t just ask ten people what they thing about the taste of different gums.
  • Evidence #2: Juicy Fruit uses real fruit juice in the recipe.
    • Warrant/Principle: Real juices taste better than artificial flavors. (Compared to the backing for the warrant connecting the reason to the claim, this warrant might be up for debate. People might argue artificial flavors are crisper, creative, etc.)
      • Objection: Real juices do not necessarily taste better than artificial flavors. Today’s technology allows for well developed and distinguished artificial flavors.
        • Rebuttal: Most artificial flavored gums are very sweet; too sweet most of the time.
  • Evidence #3: The flavor lasts longer.
Reason #2: Juicy Fruit blows the biggest bubbles.
  • Warrant/Principle: Gum must blow bubbles.
    • Objection: Not all gum is meant to blow bubbles. Some gum is just to provide fresh breath.
      • Rebuttal: Gum that is only meant to provide fresh breath might as well be a breath mint. Gum is supposed to be elastic enough to chew; therefore, elastic enough to blow bubbles.
  • Warrant/Principle: Big is always better.
    • Backing: (This is a warrant that is always at work in American Culture; think of “biggie size” combo meals and such.)
      • Objection: Big bubbles usually burst and make a mess everywhere.
        • Rebuttal: That is a problem with the individual blowing the bubbles. The point is that Juicy Fruit can make the biggest bubbles.
  • Evidence #1: Survey of 20 friends with different types of gum. Juicy Fruit bubbles were biggest 8 out of 10 times.
    • Warrant/Principle: The results of studies are to be trusted and valued over mere opinion.
      • Objection: What was your methodology for conducting this study?
        • Rebuttal: You describe the methods of your study, maybe citing sources about how/why this method is sound and valid.
  • Evidence #2: A competitive gum bubble blower says so.
    • Warrant/Principle: Professionals have authoritative opinions (another “well duh” warrant).
Reason #3: Juicy Fruit stays soft and pliable.
  • Warrant/Principle: A person can chew “good” gum for a long time without getting sore jaws.
    • Backing: evidence to support the third warrant
  • Evidence #1: The same survey conducted on the 20 friends for blowing bubbles also evaluated pliability.
    • Objection: How do you measure “pliability”?
      • Rebuttal: The persons in the test would time how long it took for their jaws to get tired.
  • Evidence #2: Juicy Fruit is softer right out of its package than other gums.
    • Objection: How do you measure “softness”?
      • Rebuttal: After opening up the gum, Juicy Fruit can be folded four times before it breaks. All the other gums could only be folded three times.

        Project’s Claim)

State your Claim

Know your Reason

State Your Principle

Always have Support

State the Rebuttal