Skip to main content

A Language Oriented Extension to Toulmin’s Argumentation Model for Conceptual Modelling


The constructive step of modelling must account for the specific requirements of various stakeholders. Further, the quality of a model in terms of goodness-of-fit, completeness or other aspects may vary, because of future, as yet unknown, requirements. Natural language underpins the process of modelling as it is the predominant form through which models are acquired, negotiated and agreed. Whilst a model defines system requirements, it does not capture the assumptions, discussions and negotiations that led to the requirements. The ability to access this information, which is lost by most development processes, may significantly improve the utility of models with respect to changing requirements and system maintenance. This paper proposes a form of ‘literate modelling’ that can be used to capture the steps in model development and is based on Toulmin’s Argumentation model. The paper contributes the design of an argumentation modelling language and a set of rules for integrating multiple languages (or domains) with the Toulmin approach. The language and approach is applied to the domain of business process modelling.


  • Conceptual modelling
  • Meta-model
  • Toulmin’s argumentation model
  • Argumentation

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD   169.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD   219.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD   219.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Learn about institutional subscriptions


  1. Hoppenbrouwers S, Proper HA, Van Der Weide TP (2005) A fundamental view on the process of conceptual modeling. In: Delcambre L, Kop C, Mayr HC, Mylopoulos J, Pastor O (eds) Proceedings of the 24th international conference on conceptual modeling, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 3716. Springer, Berlin, pp 128–143. doi: 10.1007/11568322 9. 9

  2. Lindland O, Sindre G, Solvberg A (1994) Understanding quality in conceptual modeling. IEEE Softw 11(2):42–49. doi: 10.1109/52.268955. all.jsp?arnumber = 268955

  3. Shanks G, Tansley E, Weber R (2003) Using ontology to validate conceptual models. Commun ACM 46(10):85–89. doi: 10.1145/944217.944244. gateway.cfm?id = 944244&type = html

  4. Moran TP, Carroll JM (1996) Overview of design rationale. In: Moran TP, Carroll JM (eds) Design rationale: concepts, techniques, and use. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ, pp 1–20

    Google Scholar 

  5. Ryle G (1984) The concept of mind (1949). Hutchinson, London

    Google Scholar 

  6. van Bommel P, Hoppenbrouwers SJBA, Proper HA, van der Weide TP (2006) Exploring modelling strategies in a meta-modelling context. In: Meersman R, Tari Z, Herrero P (eds) On the move to meaningful internet systems 2006: OTM 2006 workshops, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 4278. Springer, Berlin, pp 1128–1137. doi: 10.1007/11915072. = 2148751.2148773

  7. Mylopoulos J, Borgida A, Jarke M, Koubarakis M (1990) Telos: representing knowledge about information systems. ACM Trans Inf Syst 8(4):325–362. doi: 10.1145/102675.102676. = 102675.102676

  8. Rolland C, Proix C (1992) A natural language approach for requirements engineering. In: Loucopoulos P (ed) Advanced information systems engineering, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 593. Springer, Berlin, pp 257–277. doi: 10.1007/BFb0035121.

  9. Ramesh B, Jarke M (2001) Toward reference models for requirements traceability. IEEE Trans Softw Eng 27(1):58–93. doi: 10.1109/32.895989. = 895989 all.jsp?arnumber = 895989

  10. Rolland C, Prakash N (2000) From conceptual modelling to requirements engineering. Ann Softw Eng 10(1–4):151–176. doi: 10.1023/A: 1018939700514. = 590679.590689

  11. Egyed A, Grunbacher P (2002) Automating requirements traceability: beyond the record & replay paradigm. In: Proceedings 17th IEEE international conference on automated software engineering, pp 163–171. IEEE Comput Soc. doi: 10.1109/ASE.2002.1115010. = 1115010

  12. Thomas O (2006) Management von Referenzmodellen: Entwurf und Realisierung eines Infomationssystems zur Entwicklung und Anwendung von Referenzmodellen. Logos, Berlin

    Google Scholar 

  13. Dalianis H, Johannesson P (1998) Explaining conceptual models—using Toulmin’s argumentation model and RST. In: Third international workshop on the language action perspective on communication modelling, pp 131–140. =

  14. Carbogim DV, Robertson D, Lee J (2000) Argument-based applications to knowledge engineering. Knowl Eng Rev 15(2):119–149. doi: 10.1017/S0269888900002058. = 975740.975741

  15. Prakken H (1995) From logic to dialectics in legal argument. In: Proceedings of the fifth international conference on artificial intelligence and law—ICAIL’95. ACM Press, New York, NY, pp 165–174. doi: 10.1145/222092.222230. = 222092.222230

  16. Kowalski RA, Toni F (1996) Abstract argumentation. Artif Intell Law 4(3–4):275–296. doi: 10.1007/BF00118494.

  17. Freeman K, Farley AM (1996) A model of argumentation and its application to legal reasoning. Artif Intell Law 4(3–4):163–197. doi: 10.1007/BF00118492.

  18. Wang M, Wang H, Vogel D, Kumar K, Chiu DK (2009) Agent-based negotiation and decision making for dynamic supply chain formation. Eng Appl Artif Intell 22(7):1046–1055. doi: 10.1016/j.engappai.2008.09.001.

  19. Gordon TF, Karacapilidis N (1997) The Zeno argumentation framework. In: Proceedings of the sixth international conference on artificial intelligence and law—ICAIL’97. ACM Press, New York, NY, pp 10–18. doi: 10.1145/261618.261622. = 261618.261622

  20. Bondarenko A (1997) An abstract, argumentation-theoretic approach to default reasoning. Artif Intell 93(1–2):63–101. doi: 10.1016/S0004-3702(97)00015-5. = 257547.257553

  21. Dunne PE, Hunter A, McBurney P, Parsons S, Wooldridge M (2009) Inconsistency tolerance in weighted argument systems. In: Proceedings of the 8th international conference on autonomous agents and multiagent systems, vol 2, pp 851–858. International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems. = 1558109.1558130

  22. Koudri A, Champeau J (2010) MODAL: a SPEM extension to improve co-design process models. In: Münch J, Yang Y, Schäfer W (eds) New modeling concepts for todays software processes, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 6195. Springer, Berlin, pp 248–259

    Google Scholar 

  23. Gallardo J, Bravo C, Redondo MA (2012) A model-driven development method for collaborative modeling tools. J Netw Comput Appl 35(3):1086–1105. doi: 10. 1016/j .jnca.201 1.12.009.

  24. Toulmin SE (2003) The uses of argument, updated edn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  25. Barn BS, Clark T (2011) Revisiting Naur’s programming as theory building for enterprise architecture modelling. In: CAiSE’11 proceedings of the 23rd international conference on advanced information systems engineering. Springer, Berlin, pp 229–236. = 2026716.2026740

  26. Barn BS, Clark T (2010) A domain specific language for contextual design. In: Bernhaupt R, Forbrig P, Gulliksen J, Lárusdóttir M (eds) Human-centred software engineering, vol 6409. Springer, Berlin, pp 46–61. = 1939212.1939219

  27. MetaCase A. Domain-specific modeling with MetaEdit+.

  28. van Deursen A, Klint P, Visser J (2000) Domain-specific languages : an annotated bibliography. ACM SIGPLAN Notices 35(6):26–36. = afficheN&cpsidt = 1448888

  29. Koskinen KU, Pihlanto P, Vanharanta H (2003) Tacit knowledge acquisition and sharing in a project work context. Int J Proj Manage 21(4), 281–290. doi: 0.1016/S0263-7863(02)00030-3.

  30. Cabot J, Gogolla M (2012) Object constraint language (OCL): a definitive guide. In: Bernardo M, Cortellessa V, Pierantonio A (eds) Formal methods for model-driven engineering, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 7320. Springer, Berlin, pp 58–90. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-30982-3. = 2367348.2367351

  31. Scheer AW, Thomas O, Adam O (2005) Process modelling using event-driven process chains. In: Dumas M, van der Aalst WMP, ter Hofstede AHM (eds) Process-aware information systems. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, pp 119–146. doi: 10.1002/0471741442.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sebastian Bittmann .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this paper

Cite this paper

Bittmann, S., Barn, B., Clark, T. (2014). A Language Oriented Extension to Toulmin’s Argumentation Model for Conceptual Modelling. In: José Escalona, M., Aragón, G., Linger, H., Lang, M., Barry, C., Schneider, C. (eds) Information System Development. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-07214-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-07215-9

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)