This resource introduces one of the most powerful—and most widely taught—methods for understanding and making arguments in the real world. It has many names: Claim/Evidence/Warrant, the Toulmin system, and others. Whatever you call it, however, learning this approach not only makes your writing stronger but also gives you a tool for critiqueing others’ arguments. It’s an easy-to-use formula for organizing an argument that’s as useful in the workplace as it is in school.
“If everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, why do I need a model for making arguments?”
True, everyone’s equally entitled to their opinions, but that doesn’t mean all opinions are equally persuasive. And it’s often precisely your job to be persuasive in your writing. Claim/Evidence/Warrant (CL/EV/WA) helps you articulate logical—and so persuasive—arguments.
This system has three basic elements (and sometimes three additional elements). Those basic elements are:
|1. Claim||What you want your readers to believe; the “point” you hope to persuade your reader of|
|2. Evidence||What you will use to support the claim; your “proof”—often a direct or indirect quotation from a text, but sometimes a statistic or the like|
|3. Warrant||A general principle that explains why you think your evidence is relevant to your claim|
Making a point with evidence in writing resembles conversation where you are trying to persuade someone of something.
|Question from Friend||Element|
|What are you trying to demonstrate?||Claim|
|What proof do you have?||Evidence|
|Why do you think that your supports your claim? Your alleged proof could be accurate but still irrelevant to your claim||Warrant|