Select a television commercial you watched from the Content Analysis Assignment: Commercials, Commercials, Commercials Assignment
analyze using the Toulmin model of argumentation. This exercise is designed to
reinforce the elements of a proposition.
Step 1: Identify the primary claim the advertisement makes. Think about what the
goal of the intended message is by first defining the audience. Is the ad trying to
define a product, service, and/or outcome? Is the advertisement trying to convince
you that one product, service, and/or outcome is better than another? Or, is the
advertisement trying to persuade you to change, continue, and/or switch to a
product, service, and/or outcome? It is vital that you understand what level of
persuasion is taking place in the advertisement before describing the support
offered in the ad.
Step 2: Describe the support used in the advertisement. Does the advertisement
use emotional appeals, facts, statistics, or testimony to support the claim? Does it
offer enough evidence to support the claim? Remember to explain the reason you
believe the support is effective/ineffective.
Step 3: Identify the warrant that links the evidence to the claim. Some warrants
are overtly stated within the text. Sometimes the warrant is implied rather than
Step 4: Identify any further supporting evidence, qualifier, rebuttal, or backing.
Step 5: Is the argument valid?
The Toulmin Model Assignment is an analytic to look at how the makers of a technology imbed into their understanding of their innovation certain assumptions about the users. The idea I’m trying to reinforce is how technology is “socially constructed” or how embedded into the design of everything from a website to an app to a video game to a television program makes presumptions about the audience. As we’ve learned so far, those presumptions are guided by beliefs about the degree to which the developers see the technology as either responding to human needs and desires (soft determinism) or see their innovation as driving changes in human behaviors (hard determinism). I hope this first assignment will start to challenge you to deploy your “theory of new communication technology.”
The last question of the assignment, “Is the argument valid?” as you to assess the “believability” of the argument.
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