Checklist: Identifying Bridge Warrants

If you don’t know whether your readers share the warrants that support your argument, find out by asking someone who might know. This could be your instructor, a member of the group you are writing for, or another professional in the field. If it turns out that you are basing your argument on warrants that your readers won’t accept, you need to think about whether the principles your readers do accept will allow them to also accept your claim. If not, you may need to reframe your argument.

Check each item to see the next. If you can’t answer yes to most or all of these questions, you should probably consult someone who is more familiar with your group of readers:

Question #1

Can I name the issues and principles that my readers think are important?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Knowing the principles your readers find important can help you to craft an argument that your readers will find convincing.

  • Before moving on, spend some time thinking about the principles that you and your readers share. Naming these principles can make your arguments more convincing to your readers.

Question #2

Can I name some of the values that I and my readers share?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Knowing the values your readers find important can help you to craft an argument that your readers will find convincing.

  • Before moving on, spend some time thinking about the values that you and your readers share. Naming these values can make your arguments more convincing to your readers.

Question #3

Can I name the issues and principles that my readers think are important?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Knowing the issues and principles your readers find important can help you to craft an argument that your readers will find convincing.

  • Before moving on, spend some time thinking about the issues and principles that you and your readers share. Naming these issues and principles can make your arguments more convincing to your readers.

Question #4

Can I list some warrants that I have seen in other arguments aimed at this group of readers?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Knowing the warrants your readers find important can help you to craft an argument that your readers will find convincing.

  • Before moving on, spend some time thinking about the warrants that you and your readers share. Naming these warrants can make your arguments more convincing to your readers.

Question #5

Can I list some warrants that this group of readers would be likely to reject?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Knowing which warrants your readers will reject can help you to craft an argument that your readers will find convincing.

  • Before moving on, spend some time thinking about the warrants that your readers might reject. Avoiding arguments that engage these warrants can make your claims more convincing to your readers.