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The elements of an
argumentative essay.

Elements of an Argument
According to Stephen Toulmin,
arguments are composed of
three main elements:

Stephen E. Toulmin
He was born in
England in 1922.
He was a philosopher
and rhetorical
He taught at USC
from 1993-2009.
In 1958, he offered
his model of
argumentation: a way
to compare truths.

What is an Argument?
First of all, what it is not. It is not a fight.
Although you may, and probably should ,
feel passionate about your topic, arguments
are supposed to be intellectual activities
not shouting matches.
However, an argument does involve two
opposing points of view. This means that
you must include the opposing side, even if
only briefly.

What is claim, data, warrant?

Claim, data, warrant (CDW) is a formal
and logical writing style.
CDW helps you PROVE your thoughts in
a logical way using evidence.
It also can be used for answering open
response questions, discussion questions,
or writing paragraphs & essays.
You can use it in any class.

What is claim, data, warrant?

It is what you already know how to do
with writing:
Claim a thesis about a topic
Data the support (evidence)
about a topic
Warrant a general, unspoken
rule that most people would agree

Toulmins Model
When a prompt
asks you to
support, refute,
or qualify a
statement, use
this method.

This is the main
point of the
argument. What
you are trying to
The school lunch
program contributes
to childhood obesity.

Includes facts, statistics, authorities, SOLID
opinion, and examples all usually from source
material depending on the claim.
On October 5, Mesa Public Schools served two
options for lunch: pizza and burritos. The pizza
contained 21 grams of fat, and the burrito
contained 15 grams of fat. A healthy meal should
contain no more than 7 grams of fat (Donovan 3).

An assumption/rule which shows the connection
between the claim and the evidence.
Feeding students lunches with wit high fat contents
will cause students to acquire extra pounds.
NOTE: The warrant must be widely accepted or
believed to be true by the majority of the public.

Connecting the Claim and the

Sometimes it helps to create a diagram of the
claim, data, and warrant that looks like the example
Lunch program is bad

Pizza/burritos have high fat content

Warrant: Fatty lunches cause obesity.

Definition: A claim states your position on the
issue/topic you have chosen to write about. It
answers the questions:
What point will your essay or paragraph try to
What belief or opinion will you be defending?

What you are claiming is true.
Your clear and provable opinion about the
Called the Main Claim in the introduction.
Called a Sub-Claim when the topic
sentence of a body paragraph

Good Claims
A good claim is logical; it emerges from the
reasonable consideration of evidence.
A good claim is debatable. Claims that are
purely factual, and claims that are only opinion fail
this requirement. You cannot argue mattes of
personal taste.
Fact: There are many homeless people in the
Taste: Comedies are better than dramas.

Good Claims
A good claim is not obvious. Why bother proving
a point with which nobody could disagree?
A good claim is engaging. Consider your
audiences attention span and make an interesting
claim which points out new ideas: teach the reader
something new.
A good claim is not overly vague. It is specific.
Attacking enormous issues leads only to
generalizations and vague assertions.

Definition: The evidence which you
cite to support your claim. Like a
lawyer presenting evidence to a jury,
you must support your claim with
facts; and unsupported claim is merely
an opinion.

Types of Evidence
Facts or Statistics: a point of
evidence that claims some objective
Expert Testimony: a stated opinion
be a person experienced in the field
Case Study: a study based on facts
and statistics that explains a point

Examples to support your claim
Cited quotes from the text to support
your claim
Cited references to the text to
support your claim
Cited statistics to support your claim
Content specific vocabulary that
supports your claim

Evidence Exercise
Given the following claim, choose
the evidence that would most
effectively support the claim.
Claim: Social networking websites
are detrimental to society.

Claim: Social networking

websites are detrimental
to society.
1. According to the 2007 National School Boards Report, teens
spend an average of 9 hours per week on social networking sites.
2. A 2009 study found that 17.3% of middle school students
have been victims of cyberbullying.
3. My mom hates Facebook because I am on it all the time.
4. A 2009 study found that 2/3 of workers with Facebook
accounts access the site during work hours.
5. A friend of mine posted pictures of a teen party showing
teenagers participating in illicit activities and clearly breaking the
6. One out of every five students admits to posting bad things on
a social media network.
7. I have been cyberbullied several times including people
posting pictures of me.

Definition: The warrant interprets the
evidence and shows how it connects to the
claim. It is a general assumption that most
people agree upon or believe to be true.
In other words, the warrant/rule explains why
the evidence proves the claim. It is the most
important part. If it is not strong and logical,
it will ruin your argument. It is probably the
most difficult part to write.

The explanation of how the
evidence support the claim.
Explains how the example, statistic,
quote, or reference supports the claim.
Explains the significance of the

Good Warrants
A good warrant will be a reasonable
explanation of facts..
A good warrant will not make
unreasonable explanation or leaps. It
is logical.
A good warrant may consider and
respond to possible counterarguments.

Connecting the Claim and the

Sometimes it helps to create a diagram of the
claim, data, and warrant that looks like the example
Smoking is bad

It can cause diseases.

Warrant: Smoking can cause lung cancer.

Warrant Practice
Claim: People should not eat that
Data/Evidence: The mushroom is
Warrant/Rule: Eating poisonous
foods is dangerous.

Warrant Practice
Claim: The seniors should not
elect Mike to be class president.
Data/Evidence: Mike is way too
laid back.
Warrant/Rule: Laid back people do
not make good class presidents.

A claim is made.
Evidence is produced in the
form of logical facts.
The Warrant connects the
Evidence/Data to the Claim.

Read the paragraph and find

the CDW

Students are not going to do well

on the test Very few students
studied. Most of the time, when
students dont study, their grades

Read the paragraph and find

the CDW

Since it is raining today, Jane

should take her umbrella. The
umbrella will keep her dry.

CDW Paragraphs
1. Claim
2. Introduce first piece of evidence
(cite if needed)
3. Warrant
4. Transition and second pieces of
evidence (cite if needed)
5. Warrant
6. More evidence or conclusion