METACOGNITION AND DISCIPLINES - (2/7)
While thinking may not always be expressed in writing, writing is always an expression
of thinking. In fact, writing instruction specialists contend that writing is thinking. Therefore, when
you write for a specific discipline- assuming you already know the basic rules of sentence structure,
syntax, grammar - you are thinking critically in a specific discipline.
Toulmin, Reike, and Janik offer a particularly useful model of crossdisciplinary reasoning and
This claim-data-warrant model is simple enough to understand and should help us realize the
need to include all three elements in every piece of formal writing we do.
- All scholarship states a claim of some kind: a hypothesis, a thesis, a
solution or a resolution.
- Scholarship presents data related to that claim as factual evidence that may take the form of
- numerical results of an experiment
- inferential statistics from a survey
- historical documentation
- quotations from a recognized text
- Scholarship makes a warrant - that is, as persauasive an argument as possible that the data justify the claim and/or make this claim superior to competing
- Scholars then debate the validity of a given claim in terms of the applicability and the quality of its
- supporting data
- and the strength of its warrant.
It also gives us an easy-to-use framework for evaluating scholarly, rhetorical, and exposistory writing in
However, this crossdisciplinary common ground does not extend very far. The disciplines
diverge on the language used, the placement of these elements in relation to each other, the
forms of data considered respectable, the standards for an acceptable warrant (Walvoord