The Toulmin Model

Claim or Conclusion: the position being argued for; the conclusion of the argument

Grounds, Reasons, or Facts: reasons or evidence that support the claim

Warrant: the connection between the grounds/reason and the claim, the underlying assumption that must be true for the claim to be logical, rarely explicit

Argument based on Generalization

Assumes that what is true of a well chosen sample is likely to hold for a larger group or population, or that certain things consistent with the sample can be inferred of the group/population.

Argument based on Analogy

Extrapolating from one situation or event based on the nature and outcome of a similar situation or event.  Has links to ‘case-based’ and precedent-based reasoning used in legal discourse. What is important here is the extent to which relevant similarities can be established between 2 contexts.  Are there sufficient, typical, accurate, relevant similarities?

Argument via Sign/Clue

The notion that certain types of evidence are symptomatic of some wider principle or outcome.  For example, smoke is often considered a sign for fire.

Causal Argument

Arguing that a given occurrence or event is the result of, or is affected by, factor X.  

Argument from Authority

Does person X or text X constitute an authoritative source on the issue in question?  What political, ideological or economic interests does the authority have? Is this the sort of issue in which a significant number of authorities are likely to agree on?

Argument from Principle

Locating a principle that is widely regarded as valid and showing that a situation exists in which this principle applies.  Evaluation: Is the principle widely accepted? Does it accurately apply to the situation in question? Are there commonly agreed on exceptions?  Are there ‘rival’ principles that lead to a different claim? Are the practical consequences of following the principle sufficiently desirable?

Backing: support, justification, reasons to believe the warrant

Rebuttal/Reservation: exceptions to the claim; description and rebuttal of counter-examples and counter-arguments

Qualification: specification of limits to claim, warrant and backing

Kayla | 2016

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit