Dr. Lee McGaan  

  Office:  WH 308  (ph. 309-457-2155);  email
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Fall 2016 Office Hours:   MWF:  9:30 - 10am, 11am - Noon & 1 -2pm TTh:  2-3pm & by apt.  |  copyright (c) by Lee McGaan, 2006-2016

last updated 2/7/2007

Secondary Analysis*
Tests of Argument in Toulmin's System

  • cl., gr. and w. test logical validity (not necessarily truth)
  • q., b., and r determine strength.

** Truth is determined by evidence in esp. gr., b, and r **

 The Terms of Secondary Analysis

    1. Backing is evidence (support, like gr.) for the warrant.
    2. esp. important to include if the audience has little knowledge or your argument is Anon-conventional@ wisdom.

    3. Qualifier is the reliability or probability of a claim's truth (Abeyond reasonable doubt,@ Apossibly,@ Amaybe,@ A probably,@ A certainly,@ A P=< .05,@ etc.
    4. Reservation (rebuttal) is the noting of circumstances when the cl. does not apply.


[gr.] The patient's test results show her illness is caused by a staph infection. [cl.] Her doctor should prescribe penicillin for her.

w. Penicillin is the recommended treatment for staph infections. (policy)

b. according to THE PHYSICIAN'S DESK REFERENCE, the authoritative source.

q. probably

r. unless she is allergic to penicillin.


* by Lee McGaan, Department of Communication Studies, Monmouth College (IL)
adapted from Stephen Toulmin. The Uses of Argument, Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1958