How to Write a Toulmin Essay

How to Write a Toulmin Essay at

S. Toulmin and Toulmin Method of Argumentation

Stephen Toulmin is amongst the most renowned philosophers of the 20th century, with very important contributions regarding developing a better definition of our contemporary era (post-modernism) and its leading principles. Some of his elaborations concern the field of rationalism and logical reasoning. As highly interested in the contemporary Philosophy of science, Toulmin offers a special method ("Toulmin Method") for checking the logical reasoning of a given person. Since most people use arguments which are not relevant to their thesis, or misinterpret the data they have at hand, Toulmin presupposes several points needed for checking reasoning in such cases. It should be said that the Toulmin method of argumentation itself is not hard for grasping, but sometimes one may become confused while analyzing the presented argument. This is so because we always start from a given set of assumptions (such as the principles of common sense). Thus, it is not possible to check whether the assumptions themselves are true. What is important is to check their connection with the data and the thesis in question.

The current paper will give you some instructions regarding how to write a Toulmin essay. Now, writing a Toulmin essay requires forming a clear conception about the discussed issue. The structure of the presented argument is as important as its contents. Hence, its veracity should be checked together with its meeting all the formal criteria for logical correctness. You need to observe the following outline. Remember that the following six parts of the Toulmin essay could be ordered in a different way, but all of them need to be presented.

Toulmin Essay Outline

1. Claim

Toulmin claim may also be called a thesis/hypothesis. This is an assertion which you have to defend by referring to data and some presumptions (or warrants). 

Example: “Educational resources in the United States should be accessible for free.”

2. Data

These are the facts that you must refer to. For instance, you can write that, “As of year X, only Z percent of the educational resources in the United States are accessible without additional payment.” Here you can also add additional information or other data which complement the first one.

3. Warrants

Toulmin warrants are the logical connections between the data presented and the thesis. A Toulmin warrant is also an assertion but it is of such a kind which does not need further proving (in this sense it is a presupposition).

An example of the Toulmin warrant is: “The more accessible educational resources are, the better educational results will be achieved by school students.” This assertion is related to the issue of educational resources. On the other hand, it is a value statement; i.e. it exposes a given point of view rooted in morality. Although it is not written here, you are actually saying that the achievement of higher marks and grades is desirable.

4. Qualifiers

Toulmin qualifiers are the statements which restrict the validity of your thesis. There is no such thing as absolute truth, (at least not in a rational sense). Not everyone who has access to free educational resources improves his/her results. Therefore, there could be other factors which influence the particular results in school. You should describe them in this part.

Example: “The access to educational resources is not the only necessary condition. Support from teachers and parents is also needed.”

5. Rebuttal

Actually, the rebuttal was presented in the previous section. Toulmin rebuttal is such an assertion which repudiates your thesis. Thus, the sentence “The access to educational resources is not the only necessary condition” is a rebuttal. As you see, the qualifiers and the rebuttal are tightly connected.

Toulmin rebuttal is such an assertion which repudiates your thesis.
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6. Backing

Toulmin backing is a statement which reinforces the warrants. This statement is needed to answer the counter-argument (the rebuttal). You can write the following: “The access to free educational resources is the main factor in improving the school students’ grades at school.

As you can see from all these points, the structure of the Toulmin essay requires careful elaboration of the thesis and checking the conditions for its validity. Of course, this argument is only of ideal nature, so it is not possible to adhere to it in a perfect sense. Its major weakness is, as we have seen, the impossibility to prove the warrants (or our preliminary assumptions), for the reason that this would lead to endless regress (such a vicious circle which is repeated without end).

It is imperative to write your Toulmin essay in such a way that you state and defend your claim appropriately and thoroughly. Here is a Toulmin essay example that you can review before writing your own Toulmin model essay.

Toulmin Model Example Essay

Is it necessary to exercise every day?

The following Toulmin essay example will be done using an outline showing the six steps. 

  1. Claim

Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and the United States Department of Health and Human Services recommend that adults be physically active for at least 30 minutes each day? Yes, you heard right. For exercise to be of any beneficial help, an adult must be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day. Some may argue that with the hustle and bustle of our current lives, this is not possible. I say, yes, it is. Thirty minutes of exercise is easy to get in every day and you should be happy to do it!

  1. Data

Much research has gone into exercise and its benefits to health and wellness. Study after study has shown where exercise via aerobics, strength training and muscle conditioning has positive outcomes on health. These studies have been so extensive that they have delved deep into the types of exercise and how much is needed for the various health benefits. Three common areas of studies are aerobic exercise, muscle strengthening and bone strengthening exercises. They all show that daily physical activity provides benefits such as weight loss or management, improvement in mood, cardiorespiratory and muscle fitness, and body composition as well as a reduction in risk for health conditions such as depression, heart disease, diabetes and more.

  1. Warrant

There are thousands of studies that have shown time and time again, regardless of the population studied, the number of persons involved in the study and the types of exercises examined, that exercise does have a positive impact on overall health. Exercising daily for at least 30 minutes positively impacts mood, weight and health.

  1. Backing

Take a look at your favourite athlete. How often do you think they exercise and what types of exercise do you think they do? How is this person’s physical fitness? What about their body composition? So, let’s come a little closer to home. Look at your family or friends who exercise regularly, how is their weight, fitness level, body composition and overall health? If you’re not sure, ask them. They will be more than happy to tell you about the benefits they’ve discovered and the changes in their body since they started exercising.

  1. Qualifier

But is it really necessary to exercise every day? The recommendation is to exercise for a total of 150 minutes each week so what if a person exercises only on weekends but still totals the 150 minutes? Will they still get the same benefit?

  1. Rebuttal

The answer to this is yes and no, it depends. If your aim is physical fitness and overall health and wellness, then yes. But if you have goals on losing weight or gaining muscle and endurance, this will take a significantly longer time if not done daily or more regularly. Yes, studies have been done on this too and they show that the outcome and the time it takes to achieve the desired result depends on how often exercising is done, for how long and the types of exercise done.

There is a wealth of information available on the different types of exercises, which is better for what body type and also for what desired result. Ultimately, the important point is that exercise should be incorporated into your lifestyle daily to maintain your overall health and this is the best starting point for any and all motives for exercising and attaining health.

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Toulmin Essay Topics - 20 creative essay ideas

Many students enjoy writing a Toulmin essay because it forces you to reason, think critically and put forward a good argument. If you are looking for Toulmin essay idea, here are some good topics you can try.

  1. Should human cloning be allowed?
  2. Abortions are a necessary evil.
  3. Modern advertising has distorted the meaning of true beauty.
  4. Fighting childhood obesity should start at home and not in the offices of government
  5. Is sugar to blame for lifestyle diseases?
  6. Use of modern technology is a must for the future classroom.
  7. The use of cell phones has positively impacted interpersonal relationships.
  8. Social media has not brought us closer together.
  9. What is a good solution to the worldwide issue of illegal immigration?
  10. Should people adopt children of another ethnic group?

Below, you will find some of the most popular questions asked by students when it comes to Toulmin essay writing.

How to Write a Toulmin Model Essay?

Writing your Toulmin essay can be easy if you follow these 6 main steps: 

  1. State your claim/ thesis that you will argue.
  2. Give evidence to support your claim/ thesis.
  3. Give an explanation of how and why the evidence given supports the claim you have made.
  4. Provide any additional proof necessary to support and explain your claim.
  5. Give an example of a counterclaim, a thesis that disagrees with your claim.
  6. Finally, provide evidence to support your counterclaim.

How to Write a Toulmin Statement?

Just like most essays, your Toulmin model essay thesis statement must be done in the following way: 

  • Carefully examine the topic and determine your stance on the issue.
  • When you have your point of view, craft a statement that outlines your viewpoint in a clear, specific and detailed way. Make sure it is written in formal language and allows the reader to know what to expect from the rest of your Toulmin essay.

How can I use the 'Toulmin Method' to analyze an argument?

The three main aspects of using the Toulmin method to analyze an argument lie in:

  • the claim,
  • the supporting data and the warrant, and
  • the explanation of how and why the supporting data relates to the claim.
3 main aspects of using the Toulmin method to analyze an argument lie in: the claim, the supporting data and the warrant, and the explanation of how and why the supporting data relates to the claim.
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Analysis of any argument using the Toulmin Method must also be objective in that after you have made your claim and supported it, you must then assess the flip side and look at any counterclaims and provide support for those. This allows you to write a strong and objective essay. Additionally, including the counterclaims and their relevant arguments allows the writer to appear more credible and knowledgeable.

What is a Toulmin proposal?

The Toulmin proposal is an outline of how the essay is to be written. It provides a guide for writing the best possible Toulmin argumentative essay by asking questions like the following in an effort to ensure that all the relevant areas are covered and sufficient information is incorporated into the essay. 

  • Can you define your claim?
  • What type of claim are you making?
  • How and why will the claim affect the arrangement of the argument?
  • How will your claims be qualified?
  • Do you have a rebuttal?
  • What evidence do you have to support your claim? What is your most persuasive piece of supporting data? What is your least supportive data?
  • What are you using as the basic foundation of your supporting evidence? Will you need to back-up this information?

What is the Difference between Classical, Rogerian, and Toulmin Argument Structure?

The three methods of argument structure have similarities as well as differences. When writing an argumentative essay, you may choose one of these methods and this is how you know which is the right one for you.

  1. Classical – This method is designed to be easily understood and helps you to structure your argument so that the needs of the reader are met. It has its base in formal logic and requires six main parts: an introduction, an explanation of the background story, the proposition or thesis statement, the supporting evidence, statements of opposing viewpoints and a conclusion.

  2. Rogerian – With this method, both the writer’s viewpoint and opposing points are expressed and evaluated with the aim of finding a common ground. It is less argumentative and aggressive than the Toulmin method and is a good conflict resolution technique to use particularly on sensitive issues.

  3. Toulmin – This method analyzes arguments using claims and supporting evidence. It is good for assessing ideas to determine the truth and validity of the claim. Another good thing about the Toulmin method is that it allows the writer to explore his viewpoints as well as opposing viewpoints without the need to find common ground between the two.

The Toulmin argument essay is an effective way to present support for your argument and it is written to persuade the reader that the writer’s viewpoints are judicious. Even if the reader is not fully convinced the writer is right, the evidence put forward should be solid enough that the reader will see the reasoning and consider the argument himself.

The Toulmin argument essay is an effective way to present support for your argument and it is written to persuade the reader that the writer’s viewpoints are judicious.
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The Toulmin analysis essay is indeed a phenomenal argumentative tool that, when done correctly, will convince the reader of the writer’s viewpoint.

Need help with your Toulmin essay? Don’t hesitate to contact us.  

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