Examples of the Toulmin Model in Public Speaking

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Instructor: Cathryn Jackson

Cat has taught a variety of subjects, including communications, mathematics, and technology. Cat has a master's degree in education and is currently working on her Ph.D.

Sometimes it's difficult to find the Toulmin Model in public speaking. In this lesson, we will review the components of the Toulmin Model and see these components in use in public speaking.

Components of the Toulmin Model

Gilbert is the manager of a small office supply store. He is in a company meeting to decide which employees in his store will earn a bonus for the year. He has five employees, but only two can get a bonus. He writes down a few of the attributes of each of the employees and discusses his options with the rest of the managers in the company. Each member has prepared a presentation for each employee to earn a raise.

The Toulmin Model is an instrument, comprised of three to five elements, that uses data to create and analyze an argument. In this lesson, we will look at each member's arguments for a certain employee to get the bonus. We will review the components of the Toulmin Model and how it is used with reasoning, and discuss how the Toulmin Model can be used in public speaking.

Remember, the Toulmin Model is very similar to using some type of reasoning to deduce a conclusion. However, this time you are using some sort of data or fact to argue your point. Creating an argument using the Toulmin Model is kind of like putting together a puzzle. The Toulmin Model has different pieces, or components, that can be arranged to make a solid argument in persuasion.

The Toulmin Model has three main components: claim, data, and warrant and other components including qualification and rebuttal. The claim when referring to the Toulmin Model is the conclusion of an argument. This is the point that the speaker is trying to make, the essence of the argument. The data when referring to the Toulmin Model is the supporting material, or evidence presented as the grounds or backing of an argument. The data is the foundation of an argument in the Toulmin Model. Without the data, you don't have an argument. The warrant when referring to the Toulmin Model is the sequence of reasoning that links the data to the claim in the argument.

Often, you will see warrants as part of logical reasoning, such as deductive, inductive, causal, or analogical. A qualifier when referring to the Toulmin Model is the limit or boundary of the argument. And, lastly, there is the rebuttal, a discussion of possible counters to an argument.

Let's look at how each member of the company is using the Toulmin Model in public speaking and using reasoning to make an argument for a different employee to receive a bonus.

The Toulmin Model and Reasoning

Employee Number Attendance Record Time with the Company Sales Record Friendliness Initiatives Ability to Lead
1 Excellent 1 year Good Excellent 0 Excellent
2 Good 15 years Fair Somewhat 5+ Poor
3 Poor 3 years Excellent Not Very 2 Excellent
4 Excellent 1 year Fair Very 0 Good
5 Fair 10 years Poor Somewhat 5+ Poor

This is a chart Gilbert created to review the different attributes of his employees. He and the other senior members of the company have narrowed this down to three employees they think deserve a bonus.

When creating an argument using the Toulmin Model, you can use different types of reasoning to develop your warrant. Some of these types of reasoning are:

  • Deductive, or reasoning from principal
  • Inductive, or reasoning from specific instances
  • Analogical reasoning
  • Causal reasoning

To learn more about these types of reasoning, please check out our other lessons, 'The Differences between Inductive and Deductive Reasoning' and 'Causal and Analogical Reasoning: Impact on Public Speaking.'

Let's look at some examples of how the company members use the Toulmin Model and different types of reasoning to build arguments in favor of different employees. The first senior company member, Josh, believes that employee number two deserves the raise. This is his argument: 'It is well known that employees with loyalty to a company have developed good relationships with customers. We want to keep these employees and encourage them because they may be the only way we are keeping these customers. Employee number two deserves the raise because he has been with the company the longest, and we need to encourage company loyalty.'

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