In simplified terms this is the argument of “I am right and you are wrong.” In this form of argument the arguer moves forward with their claim, also referred to as a thesis, of what they are trying to accomplish. The Toulmin argument adds additional detail and some new concepts to the basic argument such as warrants, backing, and rebuttal.
- What issue/topic are you writing about?
- Why are you writing about it? What has happened or needs to happen?
- How will you write about the issue? What will the major points of your paper be?
- Why should we care about this argument? How will you get the attention of the average person? This is often referred to as the greater purpose or warrant in that in takes the argument and broadens its appeal to readers by generalizing it.
- Other points that might be included:
- Who is being addressed if relevant?
- When or time period if relevant to issue?
- Where if the location is relevant to issue?
So now that we know what the parts are we can practice building a thesis. Here is a way to get started:
- What issue: Social Media
- Why write about it: Dangers to Young Adults
- How will I write about it: Provide evidence that shows the dangers of social media by examining the time young adults spend on social media, cyber bullying and teen suicide.
- Why should we care about this argument: it is the responsibility of adults to ensure that young adults are kept safe and out of harms way.
So the basic starting thesis would look something like this:
Example Paper: (may vary by instructor)
Instructor: Jane Smith
English 102 Section # XXXXX
Essay Type: Toulmin Argument
28 September, 201X
Far Better or Maybe for the Worse?
Introduction: (GRABBER) Once upon a time and happily thereafter are terms that we are all familiar with and have even grown accustomed to. Likewise many people imagine their future marriage that will allow them to spend the rest of their life with their soul mate. (BACKGROUND) However, almost all people in this day know of at least one marriage that has failed due to various circumstances. In 2014 divorce has become such a frequent result of marriages that people should be wondering why marriages are failing in the first place. Divorce is not always simply the result of failed love. (THESIS) Divorce tends to be the result of high assumptions of economic provision, lack of expected health quality, or infertility within marriages that couples may seek standards that are unreachable for even the strongest loves and dissolve the bedrock of modern day society .
Evidence 1: (TOPIC SENTENCE TIES TO THESIS POINT) Upon entering a marriage, the newlyweds each have their own beliefs that their personal economic and education standards will be met. (INTRODUCE SOURCE) People say that money is not everything when it comes to love, but statistics from research by scholars Bradford Wilcox and Elizabeth Marquardt of Metero University report that harder economic times have had an impact. The percentage of a lasting first marriage differs among education levels with those “highly educated”, or obtaining at minimum a bachelor’s degree, with 56% intact, those “moderately educated”, or those with a high school diploma, with 45%, and “least educated”, or those who did not complete high school, with 39% (Wilcox and Marquardt). The chance of divorce also changes among these standards as “highly educated” having an 11% chance of divorce within 10 years, “moderately educated” with a 37% chance and “least educated” with a 36% chance (Wilcox and Marquardt ). (TIEBACK TO THESIS POINT) Clearly depicted through the documented studies, the education status correlates directly with income conditions . (GREATER PURPOSE OR LARGER CONCERN FOR PAPER)This imbalance shows staggering evidence of a marital divide that also affecting marriage and the very fabric of that binds our society together.
Evidence 2: (TOPIC SENTENCE TIES TO THESIS POINT) Although many wedding vows include the promise that the couple will be there in sickness and in health, this pledge to one another can be tested if a spouse is later diagnosed with a chronic illness that puts a strain on the ideal relationship . (INTRODUCE SOURCE) Research specialist and Social Family Advocate Recipient, Alexnadra Sifferlin, reviewed a 2010 study from the University of Michigan of 2,717 couples and found that “31% of marriages involving at least one sick partner end in divorce” (Sifferlin). (TIEBACK TO THESIS POINT)Although this percentage seems low, taken in a different angle, this means that a little over 3 out of every 10 marriages facing medical issues ends in divorce . With emerging diseases yearly, the category of couples with health problems will only increase, therefore this statistic will apply to more of the population . (GREATER PURPOSE OR LARGER CONCERN FOR PAPER)Once embedded onto a host, this terminal illness will eat away at the foundation of family and society.
Evidence 3: (TOPIC SENTENCE TIES TO THESIS POINT) A common goal of many marriages is to produce children to fulfill an idea of a family; but what if this dream cannot be fulfilled due to infertility? (INTRODUCE SOURCE) Erica Berman, a doctor in psychology with over thirty-five years experience, states infertility can “create a substantial financial burden for people; it can destroy a couple’s intimacy; it can cause serious significant emotional distress and interfere with everyday functioning” (Berman). (TIEBACK TO THESIS POINT)The emotional effects of this incapability to provide what was expected can become a divide in marriages with blame felt on either side of the situation. (GREATER PURPOSE OR LARGER CONCERN FOR PAPER) If the relationship is built on the foundation to reproduce as an outpouring symbol of their love, couples can feel as if they have lost their identity as a pair and the definition of a family when this is not a possibility and therefore feeling left out and potentially withdrawing from society.
Rebuttal: (THE OTHER POINT OF VIEW) There are circumstances during which divorces are solely the result of lack of intimacy, passion or commitment. Perhaps a wrong choice is made at too young of an age or in a moment of idealistic passion . (THE WEAKNESS OF THE OTHER POINT OF VIEW) However, the absence of these sentimental connections can be “rooted within the broader emotion of resentment that has underlying causes which are greater than a sudden change of heart” (Pilossoph). Even marriages that have intentions to endlessly love one another can be damaged by societal demands of a basic standard of living and initial dreams that are broken by unforeseen situations.
Warrant/Backing: (DISCUSSES THE WARRANT–NOT THE TOPIC OF THE PAPER) People with long-term commitment to others provide communities with healthier and more productive individuals that contribute to society positively . Those that have made the continuous responsibility to one another “are 1.3 times more likely to participate in volunteer opportunities to promote the welfare of others” (Keyes). Further Cohen reports that people who make an abiding promise to stand by another person through any circumstance “tend to report higher life satisfaction and lower psychological distress than single people.” Clearly the suggestion of higher life satisfaction can make a stronger bedrock of society.
Conclusion: (RESTATE FOCUS-THESIS) With marriages lacking commitment to promises made during wedding ceremonies to take their partner for life, society needs to begin to set the example for future marriages that divorce should not be the easy outcome when the future does not unfold as planned. (SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE) Social classes have been placed at odds in yet another dimension with dramatic differences in the expectancy of success in marriage. As health conditions impact adults of various ages, these medical concerns become weights on the potential for a long-term marriage. The expectation of children to create a family has left infertile spouses to create a break in a relationship due to feelings of inadequacy . (CRITICAL THINKING) Since divorce is a high trend in recent years, couples considering marriage should evaluate mistakes of past marriages in order to prevent unreachable standards and prepare to stick with the vows made to be together “for better or worse” in order to create a future with higher standards of commitment so that society has the chance to live happily thereafter.
(Don’t forget your works cited list!)