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ENGL 1302 Oberle


Research-Based Toulmin Argument Assignment: 

In this assignment, you will be writing a grammatically correct, clearly organized essay that uses the Toulmin model to argue in favor of one of the possible points-of-view on a controversial social, ethical, historical, or intellectual issue. By following the Toulmin model, your paper should:

In the Introduction:
  • Briefly define your topic.

  • Establish why your topic is important historically, ethically, socially, or intellectually (in other words, establish--briefly--why a reader should be interested in your topic).

  • Have a specific thesis statement that clearly expresses the point-of-view on the topic being argued and the major arguments to be made in favor of this point-of-view. In other words, the thesis should state your opinion on the issue and the actual reasons the paper will discuss in support of your opinion. In the thesis, these reasons should be stated in the order in which they will be discussed inside the paper’s body paragraphs.

In Each Body Paragraph:
  • Logically discuss a reason in support of the point-of-view being argued (in other words, logically argue in favor of one of the reasons, listed in the paper’s thesis statement, which supports your opinion).

  • Logically discuss and refute the opposing point-of-view for the particular reason being argued (in other words, fairly discuss and fairly disprove the opinions of those who disagree with the particular reason being discussed).


In the Conclusion:
  • Reiterate the paper’s thesis statement by briefly re-emphasizing the reasons that support the paper’s argument.

  • Give readers an ending thought that motivates them to care about the argument the paper has just presented.


The Research-Based Toulmin Argument Essay requires you to use a minimum of four sources:

Your research paper should:

  • Follow APA guidelines for format (see LSH pages 200-03 for an explanation of APA format, and see LSH pages 204-07 for a sample paper formatted according to APA guidelines--you need to follow the margins, spacing, page numbering, running head, and titling shown on these pages, and you do not need to include an abstract or headings)

  • Cite from at least four research sources

    • At least three of these sources must be scholarly (such as journal articles, books, or government documents)

    • No more than one of these sources may be popular (such as newspaper or magazine articles)

    • None of these sources may be an Internet site, and

    • These sources should come from the library or from the library’s online research databases, not from Internet search engines like Google.

  • Follow APA guidelines for in-text citations (see LSH page 170 and pages 173-78)

  • Include an APA-style list of references (see LSH pages 171-72 and pages 179-200)


Use the library's online research databases to find all your sources, scholarly and popular. 


For help using the research databases, start on the Finding Research Sources page in this guide:

You can also browse the database help videos we post to the Student Research Help section of our YouTube channel:

If you have questions or trouble using the databases, contact the library or email Bronwyn at


Try some of these resources to better understand the Toulmin Model to construct an argument: