Essay Writing: The Basics of Evidence.
In university, the biggest challenge of any project, be it an essay, research paper, or a presentation is locating and using suitable evidence to support the arguments or claims you want to, or are making. The process of finding, evaluating and using evidence can be confusing and scary for many students.
What is evidence?
“Evidence refers to information that can be presented to support or reinforce an argument.”
The evidence is sometimes mistakenly referred to as proof. It is undoubtedly true that authors use evidence to try to prove to the reader that what they are saying is true. However, there is a very important distinction between proof and evidence:
• Proof: Undisputable facts that leave no room for doubt that something is true.
E.G: John had $100 and bought a jacket for $50 and a watch for $50, so has no money left.
• Evidence: Information that suggests that something is true, but leaves some room for doubt.
E.G: John had $100 and bought a jacket worth $50 and a watch worth $50, so likely has no money left.
Evidence for academic writing can be broken down into 5 general forms, each of which has different advantages and disadvantages. Important to understand is that different levels of academic writing (level of study) have different requirements and this means that certain forms of evidence are not acceptable in higher level work.