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Ideas for a Toulmin Argument


A good argument using British philosopher Stephen Toulmin's model will include a clear opinion or claim backed by grounds or reasons that support it. Toulmin arguments also include a rebuttal section recognizing an opposing point of view. Choose a topic that has a variety of opinions on a political, environmental, health-related or cultural issue for a Toulmin argument paper or speech.

Political Ideas

Political topics like abortion or the death penalty are good fits for a Toulmin argument because they allow you to state your opinion and also have opposing points of view that you can use for the rebuttal portion of the paper. Find a list of political topics on academic websites like procon.org. For example, write about animal testing and the need for more laws to prevent it. Or, write about the debate over whether churches, synagogues and mosques should pay taxes.

Environmental Issues

Water quality, energy conservation, drought, air quality and biodiversity or endangered species are environmental issues suitable for Toulmin arguments, because they include several different perspectives you may use for a clear claim as well as rebuttals. Find a list of environmental topics on websites like Science Daily. For example, craft a paper about the loss of coral reefs around the world and include recommendations to improve the situation. Or, discuss declining air quality and ways scientists suggest to combat it.

Health-Related Concepts

Find a list of health topics affecting the globe at the World Health Organization website. Differing approaches to health problems can serve as good claims for a Toulmin argument as well as rebuttals. Write about the increase in diseases such as diabetes and cancer around the world and ways to prevent them. Or, craft an argument in support of telemedicine and mobile technology and how they bring health care for people living in remote areas. Another option could be writing about an individual health choice like vegetarianism.

Cultural Debates

Same-sex marriage, video games and violence and social media affect popular culture and society and spark diverse opinions, some of which you may select to support your Toulmin model claim. Opposing perspectives on these issues are readily available. Find a list of social and cultural topics on websites like procon.org. For example, explore reasons to pay student-athletes in college. Write about a current issue like the impact of tablet computers instead of textbooks, or ways to stop school bullying.

About the Author

Amy Sterling Casil is an award-winning writer with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She is a professional author and college writing teacher, and has published 20 nonfiction books for schools and libraries.

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