Toulmin Schema Worksheet
In English 2010 we use the Toulmin Schema to test our arguments and to develop a detailed outline of our Persuasive Research papers. One of the reasons it is useful in this process is that it focuses primarily on what we can validate with research or logic(logos) instead of relying on the emotional responses that often limit our research and discussion about many topics. We can then add appeals to emotion (pathos) that are useful to our specific audience as we prepare to write the essay. The following version of Toulmin is tailored specifically to English 2010 and designed to test the working thesis sentence developed in the policy proposal portion of the Stasis Model.
Claim: This should be the first part of your newly developed working thesis sentence
Reasons: This are the ‘because’ clauses of your working thesis statement
Assumptions: What assumptions do you have about the topic and why? What points of agreement (values) do you and your audience share? According to your research, what are the presumed assumptions your audience has about the topic and why?
Backing: Think of this as a place to list the evidence, both personal and researched, which supports your claim and reasons. This will be the longest portion of the essay.
Conditions of Rebuttal: What are other people saying about your topic? How will they attack your position? What are their strongest points? Be sure to explore each point in detail, gathering source information to fully understand why people hold that position and to more fully evaluate the counterargument.
Qualifier: Revised thesis statement based on the conditions of rebuttal. What can you still realistically argue? Are there ways to adjust your thesis to include some ideas from the rebuttals or a way to counter them by changing the thesis?
• Cite credible sources using MLA documentation
• 4-5 pages long, 12 point font–It should read like a bulleted list, not a formal paper (please see the examples)
• Develop a clear policy proposal
• Upload as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file