First-Year Preceptorial


Critical Reading Handouts

Mary Mar, 2006

Toulmin Argument Analysis Assignment

Using the handouts on Toulmin argument analysis discussed in class, apply the analysis to different kinds of texts.  Not all the arguments will have all elements of Toulmin’s model, but especially look for claims, evidence, counter-arguments, and qualifiers, all useful structural elements to consider as readers and writers of argument.  Warrants are typically more difficult to identify, but try to figure out what they are in the first two texts.  You may use point form for this assignment.  We will discuss the answers in class.

Toulmin argument analysis terms:

Reasons/evidence   à   Claim

            Since… (Warrant)           Unless…(Qualifier)         Rebuttal (counterargument)

 Apply the analysis to 5 texts (as much as you can) 

  1. Declaration of Independence:  political call to action
  2. Watson and Crick’s article on DNA structure: an academic claim to knowledge
  3. Virginia Woolf’s “The Death of a Moth”: a literary “argument”?
  4. Scott’s view of “resistance” in Lukes: another academic argument 
  5. Lukes’ view of power from p. 61-69

[Note: the first 3 texts are short 1-2 page texts from different disciplines/genres.  I have copies if any Precept instructor wants to use them.]