Research Blog Tip of the Day #2

 Several students have asked about the “warrant” that is mentioned in the outline form.  This term is taken from a type of argumentation called the  Toulmin Method. For an explanantion of this method and the warrant in particular, check out this website.

So, do you need a warrant? Yes. Every argument needs a warrant. How do you know if you have one? Well, you can see if your thesis can fit into the “Magic Thesis Statement” formula, which is also mentioned on the outline form.

The MTS formula is:

By looking at _____A_____, we can see _____B_____; this is important because _____C_____.

In this formula, the “A” blank is filled in with the specific  aspects, elements, items, etc. that your argument will consider. This portion of the MTS formula narrows your topic. The “B” blank is filled in with your claim, or what you would usually consider your thesis. The “C” blank is filled in with the warrant. The warrant essentially answers the question, “Why should anyone care about this?”

How does this all work with an actual paper? Consider the sample paper we read in class and that is the basis of the sample research blog. The thesis for that paper fits nicely in the MTS formula:

By looking at global warming’s affect on the agricultural and automotive industries, we can see that the government must enforce green policies; this is important because if we fail to act, the country faces economic catastrophe.

Notice that the warrant, the “this is important because” part, is not stated in the actual thesis of the paper. Instead, it is stated in the introduction and it is implied throughout the paper. Also notice that, without this warrant, the paper would not be convincing or even worth reading! Part of your job as a persuasive writer is to make your audience care about the topic. That’s what the warrant does.

See if your topic fits into the MTS formula. If it does, then it is probably sufficiently narrow and something the reader will care about. If it doesn’t, you may have to narrow your topic and/or make your warrant more clear.

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