The Toulmin Method of logic is a common and easy to use formula for organizing an argument.The basic format for the Toulmin Method is as follows.Claim: The overall thesis the writer will argue for.Data: Evidence gathered to support the claim.Warrant (also referred to as a bridge): Explanation of why or how the data supports the claim, the underlying assumption that connects your data to your claim.Backing (also referred to as the foundation): Additional logic or reasoning that may be necessary to support the warrant.Counterclaim: A claim that negates or disagrees with the thesis/claim.Rebuttal: Evidence that negates or disagrees with the counterclaim.Including a well-thought-out warrant or bridge is essential to writing a good argumentative essay or paper.
You will study classification in psychology, anatomy, biology, business, and economics. It is a convenient way to organize data and simplify complex decisions, Insurance companies base rates on codes, classifying businesses according to their chance of experiencing a loss. Stockbrokers classify investments from a low to a high risk.
* The method of measurement must be clearly stated.
* Each category must be measured against the same standard: price, quality, durability, time, quantity, etc. Don't mix standards.
* Keep categories uniform. If you are rating personal incomes or prices, maintain uniform increments -- 20,000-30,000; 30,000-40,000; etc.
SELECTING TOPICS FOR CLASSIFICATION ESSAYS
If your instructor does not assign a topic, you might consider one of the following items. Select a topic, then explore its possibilities using one or more prewriting strategies:
rate cars by quality, ease of repair, or sticker price
rate best to worst bosses, students, or customers you have encountered
evaluate the best to worst methods of disciplining a child
rate local daycare options by price
classify local apartments by size, price, or age
apply a personal rating system to classify movies, talk shows, or sitcoms (make sure you clearly establish your method of evaluation)
rate best to worst computer search engines
classify mutual funds or other investments by risk or current rate of return
rate stores from best to worst in service
rate airlines from best to worst based on your personal experience
Developing a classification paper is a two step process:
1. Choose a subject
2. Select and define a clear method or standard of evaluation
SELECT AND LIMIT A TOPIC
Keep the length of your paper in mind as you consider subjects. If you are assigned a 500 word essay, it is unlikely you can classify apartments in Manhattan in any meaningful way. It might be better to limit your subject to apartments in a single neighborhood, or a type of apartment such as lofts, or a particular price range ($1,000-$2,000 a month).
ESTABLISH A CLEAR METHOD OF CLASSIFICATION
In some cases a method of classification may be clear cut, especially if you are working with numbers. You can easily classify car engines by their number of cylinders. But if you are rating subjective elements such as "desirability" or "quality" you will have to clearly define what you mean by this term:
The quality of airlines can be classified by their on-time record, their response to customer complaints, their ability to address special needs.
Talk shows can be classified by their choice of topics, their quests, and the host's attitude.
USE A DIAGRAM OR A CHART TO OUTLINE IDEAS
To keep your ideas straight and develop a clear outline, use a chart to guide your first draft:
BEST TALK SHOWS
Socially meaningful topics -- child custody, computer fraud, AIDS
Expert guests -- professors, authors, researchers
Thought provoking host -- seeks to summarize/explain complex ideas for a general audience
AVERAGE TALK SHOWS
Entertaining topics -- celebrity divorces, fashion, fad diets
Celebrity guests -- movie stars, comics, singers
Entertaining host -- seeks to entertain by showcasing talent and interviewing for gossip rather than insight
WORST TALK SHOWS
Controversial topics -- sex, drugs, cults, gangs
Dysfunctional guests -- criminals, social misfits, rebels
Confrontational host -- seeks to bait guests into fights, arguments, confrontations to excite audience
STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING CLASSIFICATION
OPEN YOUR PAPER WITH AN EXPLANATION OF YOUR ROLE AND PURPOSE
If you are establishing a personal method of evaluation, state it clearly at the outset of the essay. Explain what the classification method is based on:
Having worked in the restaurant business for six years, I can classify most customers in one of four categories of tippers. . . .
EXPLAIN EXCEPTIONS TO YOUR CLASSIFICATION
If any elements might not fit into your categories, explain them clearly at the outset or conclusion of your paper.
DIVISION AND CLASSIFICATION CHECKLIST
BEFORE SUBMITTING YOUR PAPER, REVIEW THESE POINTS
1. Have you clearly defined your goal -- to write a division or classification paper?
2. Do you make meaningful divisions or classifications -- does your paper oversimplify a complex subject?
3. Are your categories clearly defined?
4. Do you avoid overlapping categories?
5. Do you use parallel patterns to develop categories and items?
6. In classification, do you use a single standard of evaluation?
7. Do all the parts of your subject clearly fit into a single category? Are there any items left over?
Essay Tips: Toulmin Argument Sample/Example