Elements of Argument

8 Toulmin Analysis

(Claims and Data)

by Andrew Gurevich

Stephen Toulmin was a British philosopher, author, and educator. Influenced by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Toulmin devoted his works to the analysis of moral reasoning. Throughout his writings, he sought to develop practical arguments which can be used effectively in evaluating the ethics behind moral issues. His works were later found useful in the field of rhetoric for analyzing arguments and exploring their underlying assumptions.

The Toulmin Model

The Toulmin Model of Argumentation contains six interrelated components used for analyzing arguments:

  • Claim: the position or claim being argued; the conclusion of the argument
  • Data/Grounds: the reasons or supporting evidence that bolster the claim
  • Warrant: the principle, provision, or chain of reasoning that connects the grounds/reason to the claim
  • Backing: the support, justification, reasons to back up the warrant
  • Rebuttal/Reservation: the exceptions to the claim; description and rebuttal of counterexamples and counterarguments
  • Qualification: specification of limits to claim, warrant, and backing. The degree of conditionality asserted

Tips for Analyzing Arguments

  • When looking for the claim, ask yourself the question, “What is the main idea of central claim of this argument?”
  • When looking for the grounds, ask yourself the question, “What are the reasons given to support the claim?”
  • When looking for the warrant, ask yourself the question, “Why does the arguer believe this data proves this claim?”


“Toulmin Analysis (Claims and Data)” by Andrew Gurevich is licensed under CC BY 4.0


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