(Click for a hint)
|Note: Please remember that your evidence MUST come from significant and respected sources—avoid online wikis, encyclopedias and other such sources that are non-academic unless you are asked to use these materials.|
- About placing evidence in your essay
- Supported facts and unsupported facts
- Types of supporting details
- Using supporting and opposing ideas
- Don't do this!
- More information
Key words: evidence, supported/unsupported fact, example, statistics, quotations
In a standard essay, you can follow these general rules (i.e. rules may vary) about where you should put your evidence:
Click on each link for a description.
Please note that the APA referencing style is used in this workshop.
Statements in academic writing need to be supported by factual details. When you are editing your writing, you will need to check that you have supported your claims with adequate evidence. For example:
|Facts not supported with evidence||Facts supported with evidence|
|Many students seek assistance with their writing skills at university.
Writing academic paragraphs is the most important skill in academic writing.
|Wonderland University (2007, p. 36) reported that in 2006, lecturers recommended that 396 internal and 267 external students should seek assistance with their writing.
The Australian Association of Essay Writing (2005, p. 129) claims that their research in five universities shows that students are required to write academic paragraphs in 90% of their assessment tasks.
Exercise 1: Recognising supported and unsupported facts
Check the following sentence to see if you can recognise unsupported and supported facts:
There are a number of ways you can support your claims in writing by using information/evidence from the work of (significant) writers and researchers. The following are three of the most common techniques:
- Quotations (e.g. direct quotes, paraphrases, summaries)
- Examples (e.g. illustrations of your points)
- Statistics (e.g. facts, figures, diagrams)
Exercise 2: Recognising types of supporting detail
Check the following sentence to see if you can identify quotations, examples and statistics:
When you have sorted out the position you will take in your essay, you will write a number of paragraphs to provide support for your stance. It is also equally valuable to find information that does not support your stance and argue against those opposite points of view. Statements that you use to do this can follow a simple pattern:
Writing support statements
- write support statement (sentence)
- write the reasons /evidence to support what you say (a number of sentences). Put your most important reasons first.
Supporting ArgumentA number of reseachers have noted that assignment tasks help students to learn the language of their subject (your statement). For instance, Smith and Jones (2002, p. 27) found that students who do assignments demonstrate a better use of the terminology of their subject when they write in their exams than students who do only exam assessment (evidence to support your statement).
Writing about the opposing ideas
- write a statement with the idea you disagree with (the opposing idea)
- write the reasons/evidence you have showing how your position is better (a number of sentences). Put your most important reasons first.
Opposing ArgumentSome educators argue that assignments are time consuming to mark (your opposing statement). However, evidence from student feedback surveys finds that students value this feedback more than any other learning experience in their courses (Jackson & Peters, 2008) (counter evidence to support your opposing position).
- Put information in your essay that comes from the recesses of your mind without finding an authority to support your statements
- Use authorities that have no academic credibility (e.g. a popular magazine)
- Use your lecture notes (even with appropriate referencing) as the sole authority in your assignments