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SPC 1608 Ashton - Persuasive Speeches: Toulmin Method

What is the Toulmin Method?

The Toulmin Method is a structure for constructing and analyzing an argument. It was originally developed by philospher Stephen Toulmin, and  it works very well for arguments where there are no absolute truths. Toulmin arguments are especially useful in speeches because they take into account the complex nature of most situations. 

In order to create a successful argument for your Problem/Solution Speech or Infomercial, you should follow the steps outlined in the Toulmin Method. This helpful infographic explains the parts below:

The Toulmin Method - Claim, Evidence, Warrant

Design created by Adam Johnson - Presented under a Creative Commons BY-4.0 License.

Part 1: Claim

Claima statement that your audience is being asked to accept.

This is the position the speaker is arguing for and the conclusion that they will ultimately reach.  This is what they want  to persuade their readers to believe as well.

Example: There should be more laws to regulate texting while driving in order to cut down on dangerous car accidents.

Part 2: Evidence

Evidence: the basis of the argument.

The grounds are the evidence that the author provides to support their claim.  They can include data and hard facts, proof of the author's expertise, or just the basic premises on which the claim is built. You find evidence for your grounds during your library research. It is important that the grounds are information that cannot be challenged, otherwise it can be seen as simply another claim, which would itself need to be based on a deeper level of evidence.   

Example: The National Safety Council estimates that 1.6 million car accidents per year are caused by cell phone use and texting.

Part 3: Warrant

Warrantthe reasoning that connects the grounds to the claim.

The warrant is the author's explanation of why the grounds are relevant to the claim.  The warrant can be explicit (clearly expressed) or implicit (only implied, not stated outright). However, an implicit warrant can leave the argument open to questioning by the reader.

Example: Being distracted by texting on a cell phone while driving a car is dangerous and causes accidents.


Books about the Toulmin Method

Practice With the Toulmin Method