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COMM 230: Toulmin Model

Updated 9/18/12
by

Jon Hoffman

on 11 February 2014

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Transcript of COMM 230: Toulmin Model

The Toulmin Model
Grounds

Warrant

Claim
‘x’ is present in this instance and we also have evidence ‘y’ is present
‘x’ has certain properties that give it the ability to produce ‘y’
‘x’ causes ‘y’
The proof required for a rational person to accept a claim as true or probable

Answers the question “what information supports the claim?”
Grounds should be...
Relevant
Consistent (internally & externally)
Acceptable to your audience
Shows how the arguer reasons
Demonstrates the inferential leap from grounds to claim is rational
When preparing the warrant, draw on…

What an audience already knows (what is true of some should be true of most or all)

Something the audience already accepts (it is common knowledge, or custom that…)
“College textbooks are too expensive”
How would you prove it to someone with no experience with college textbooks?
Examples
Scientists are lousy communicators. They appeal to people's heads, not their hearts or guts, argues Randy Olson, who left a professorship in marine biology to make science films. "Scientists think of themselves as guardians of truth," he says. "Once they have spewed it out, they feel the burden is on the audience to understand it" and agree.
Identify the:
Claim, Grounds, Warrant, and Backing
CLAIM: Scientists are lousy communicators.

GROUNDS: Randy Olson…"Scientists think of themselves as guardians of truth," he says. "Once they have spewed it out, they feel the burden is on the audience to understand it" and agree.

WARRANT: Cause—Olson tells us why they are lousy (Assuming processing along ELM’s central route. For the less engaged audience processing along the peripheral route, the warrant would be Olson’s qualifications as an authority.)

BACKING: Randy Olson… left a professorship in marine biology to make science films.
Secondary Triad:
Primary Triad:
Grounds

Warrant

Claim
‘x’ is present in this instance and we also have evidence ‘y’ is present
‘x’ has certain properties that give it the ability to produce ‘y’
‘x’ causes ‘y’
The proof required for a rational person to accept a claim as true or probable

Answers the question “what information supports the claim?”
Grounds should be...
Relevant
Consistent (internally & externally)
Acceptable to your audience
Shows how the arguer reasons
Demonstrates the inferential leap from grounds to claim is rational
When preparing the warrant, draw on…

What an audience already knows (what is true of some should be true of most or all)

Something the audience already accepts (it is common knowledge, or custom that…)
backing
rebuttal
qualifier
Explicit information establishing reliability of the warrant

Use of backing, like warrant, not always necessary

Best to provide when audience lacks prior knowledge
Indicate force or strength of claim (or its limitations)

Phrases such as…
“in certain cases”
“in all probability”
Limit claim statements

which may not be true in all circumstances
when grounds, warrant and backing provide only partial support
Find the Warrant
What is it?
Jesus forgives
What is it?
If it costs more, it must be better.
What is it?
You shouldn't wear white, it's after labor day
Full transcript