Using Evidence In Essays

Often times, your writing assignments will require you to make an argument. You’ll be asked to take a stand on a particular topic and support your position with evidence.

If you have been given the task of writing an evidence based essay, you’ll need to know the best ways to incorporate that evidence. Here is a guide to help you with the process.

Types of Evidence

There are several different styles of evidence (or proof). For a well-rounded paper, include a variety of types.

  • Einstein Proof – You come across information that reveals a note-worthy person or scholar agrees with the point you are trying to make.
  • Case Proof – A case in which your opinion is validated and/or the opposing view isn’t.
  • Fact Proof – Includes statistics and objective information.
  • For Example Proof – Includes examples that support your primary claim.

Integrating Evidence into the Essay

There are several ways to incorporate evidence into your essay. You might choose to portray data in a graph, chart or table. Sometimes, visuals – like photographs or illustrations with captions – are best. Often times, it is most persuasive to share a scholar’s own words; an interview excerpt works well in this situation.

Most often, though, your evidence will be included as text in the body of your paper as a quotation, paraphrase, or summary.

Quotations
A quotation is an exact preproduction of another person’s words. Use quotes when:

  • You couldn’t possibly say it better. Often times, the original speaker uses words that are witty, edgy, or distinctive.
  • You need the author’s expertise to solidify your claim.
  • The author uses a specific word or phrase.

As is the case with any other type of evidence, you need to include a citation. You can use our citation generator.

Paraphrasing
If you take a section of text and put it in your own words, you are paraphrasing. This tactic usually centers on a single phrase, sentence or paragraph rather than a summary of the entire work.

Writers usually paraphrase when they want to reference the author’s ideas, but the actual words aren’t distinctive enough to quote. You can also paraphrase when you want to reference an example the other writer used.

Summary
Summaries are the perfect way to reference a large piece of text. Summaries are especially useful when writing shorter papers; you can reference a lot of reputable sources with a minimal amount of text.

Creating a Correlation between your Claim and the Evidence

Evidence can make or break the success of your essay. If you don’t have enough, your readers won’t feel you have a valid argument. Alternately, if you overload your essay with tons of rambling bits of evidence, readers won’t be able to unearth your claims.

For each piece of evidence, tell your readers how or why it supports your overall argument. If you don’t, you have simply created a document full of facts and pieces of information. Establishing a connection to your overall claim is what turns facts into evidence.

Also, the only person inside your head is you. Readers won’t understand the point you are trying to make if you don’t tell them. Make sure there is an obvious connection between what was going on inside your mind when you chose that particular piece of evidence and how it relates to the essay. Don’t assume readers will understand the implication of your evidence.

This is especially relevant when using quotations. Writers often feel the urge to simply drop a quotation into a paragraph and assume it makes sense. Instead, surround the quotation with some sort of discussion or include an introduction and conclusion.

Choose your evidence wisely, cite it properly, tie it to your argument, and you’ll have a very persuasive essay!

Now you know how to incorporate evidence and make your paper sound convincing. If you have your own tips or questions, share in comments!

One of the central features of scholarly writing is the use of evidence to make an argument. You must learn how to incorporate other scholars' writing and arguments into your own.

In scholarly writing, you will often use paraphrased material or direct quotations from other sources to support your research and strengthen your academic argument. Although direct quotations are generally not as strong as paraphrases, they can add evidence and substance to your scholarly argument. Do keep in mind, however, that some instructors forbid direct quotations for some assignments.

In using quotations or source material, however, you must adequately incorporate the quotations and ideas from your sources. Simply inserting the material into your paragraph is not enough. You must incorporate your citation information, and then introduce, integrate, and explain your use of the quotations or source material.

On the following subpages, learn how to introduce, integrate, and explain evidence that you use from other sources.

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