Writing par excellence
Writing can be quite a personal affair. It can emanate from the depths of inner creativity or simply from the shallowness of the casual thought process. Casual or conscious writing, it has the power to mesmerize readers of all ages and at all times. It is what remains of us when we may not be there to read it again. Such is the importance of writing well that is often overlooked. It is this importance that merits a careful evaluation of what we write and how we write it.
Writers of articles, poems, stories and even academic papers follow different styles. After all, each style requires a different frame of mind and varying cognitive abilities. Young academicians try to learn a writing style and with the passage of time master this art with practice and sense of quality writing skills. I was always curious about how best to express in the most effective way possible.
Yes writing must be simple, using good vocabulary when needed and not overly embellished. Writing must also be clear by making concise sentences. There should be flow in the overall text and there is wise use of paragraphs at the right place. These are all good writing tips that various men and women of knowledge have shared with me and therefore made me grateful for what I can accomplish today. This piece of writing introduces a piece of valuable advise in the form a model which truly polishes and makes academic writing shine. This advise was given by an esteemed professor from whom I had the honor of learning. I am indeed lucky to be in one the best program of study with such wonderful faculty members.
The model’s simplicity makes it very easy to understand and implement in one’s writing. It is called the Toulmin model, which was conceived by a British philosopher Stephen Toulmin in his book titled The Uses of Argument (Cambridge University Press, 1958). Toulmin model shows a logical way to present an argument. As depicted in the figure, it has three main elements – warrant, claim and data. A warrant can be be viewed as unstated assumptions or presuppositions of the author. Data provides the proof or evidence, and the claim is the main point or thesis. An argument can viewed in terms of a warrant, a claim and the data or evidence to justify the claim. Therefore, warrant is the assumption on which the claim and the evidence depend upon. For example:
Data - Evidence suggests that 90% of lung cancer in men is caused by smoking
Warrant - People want to quit smoking
The Toulmin Project homepage provides a detailed overview and application of the model. The model was further expanded to include more variables, however the basic and parsimonious version is sufficient to improve one’s writing and evaluate an argument effectively. Following the Toulmin model an argument discussed would carry more wight as it contains in it a warrant, and a claim that is backed by data. By concentrating more what is written in light of this model, one is also able to think clearly while writing. Hope you would find it useful just as many others have benefited from its use in their academic writing.