How to Introduce Evidence in an Essay
Publication Date: 08 September 2022
Evidence or argumentation is absolutely essential in essay writing. One cannot expect a decent grade on a paper without using sufficient and clear evidence. If you struggle to introduce evidence and facts into your paper, don’t worry – we are here to support you! This article will tell you everything about evidence and how to introduce one into your essay correctly.
Why do you Need Evidence?
Its presence is one of the criteria for assessing the quality of an essay. This allows you to get a few more points toward the final grade. But the evidence is not just there to improve performance. The real value of argumentation lies elsewhere.
Evidence or examples from real life, quotes from works of art, movies, songs, etc. allow you to support your opinion, and the thesis statement indicated in the introduction. Argumentation helps to justify, substantiate the point of view of the author of the text, and to point to authoritative sources.
Also, the use of examples from life and arguments shows that the author has reflected on the topic, and made his judgment about it. He tried to find the right words, and grammatical constructions, to place semantic accents in order to show his reasoning, train of thought, and conclusions.
What are Real Life Examples?
In an essay for an exam, this is understood as much more than just the author’s mention of an episode from his biography. By an example from real life, we mean:
- A situation from a movie, TV series, or documentary. Do not be afraid to use examples from contemporary art in your essay. The given example must support the point of view of the author;
- The plot or episode from any other literary work. This includes everything that doesn’t constitute the text for the assignment the author is working on;
- Personal experience of the author or his acquaintances, relatives, and friends. It is important to present such stories concisely, paying attention only to those details that will help the author emphasize his reasoning;
- Evidence from any other credible sources, such as songs, sculptures, or works of art. Everything can be used in an essay, but the given example from life must correspond to the topic, as well as the norms of the English language.
Formulating Your Thesis Statement
An argument is an evidence given in support or refutation of an opinion. In the essay, it is necessary to indicate your position on a particular topic, accepting or not accepting the opinion of the author. As a rule, it is necessary to give at least several arguments in its defense, using examples from life, literature, or cinema.
So, in order to choose the right examples, you need, foremost, to correctly and accurately formulate your opinion. Compliance with the thesis is the most important criterion for evaluating an argument.
Of course, it is not enough just to voice your opinion: whether you agree or disagree with this or that thesis. Even if your view of the problem coincides with the view of the author, it should be clearly articulated in a separate, detailed answer. Until you yourself understand what you think about it, you will not formulate a decent thesis statement. Therefore, the selection of arguments should begin with the formulation of a thesis statement – a sentence that indicates your position, which you will support with evidence and facts.
For example, the author of a book depicts the horrors of war, and how it is ruthless to all parties involved, regardless if they are the aggressors or the victims. Here is our thesis:
I fully agree with the author and believe that the war is inhumane in its essence, and there is no winner in it because both sides suffer catastrophic losses.
So what do you have to prove? This question you should ask yourself immediately after the formulation of the thesis. This is exactly why we have prepared the next paragraph.
Choice of Material for Evidence
To support the above thesis, we must prove that war is equally destructive for both sides of the conflict and that it is terrible and dangerous for all directly and indirectly involved. Now it becomes clear what examples can confirm this point of view – only those that show, without embellishment, the disastrous consequences of war for all participants.
Obviously, one should not carol the feats of the ancestors and evaluate the role of a soldier in the war (that’s a pure theory – we don’t need that one for evidence). We need to condemn war and show its true, ugly and repulsive nature. So what are some good examples?
The most obvious one – you can tell about your great-grandfather, who fought and saw all the horrors of war with his own eyes. It can be mentioned that the veteran did not like to talk about his experience; he tried to forget about what he saw in order to learn how to live a peaceful life in order to restore harmony to his soul. You can describe the bloodshed and the nightmare of the battle in which he happened to fight. You can talk about his wounds and injuries too.
The bottom line – his experience in the war should be negative, and the micro-conclusion, in this case, will be as follows: war is inhuman and cruel towards all people; there is nothing heroic and beautiful in it.
Kinds of Arguments
To better select arguments as your evidence, let’s turn to theory again and find out what are the types of arguments out there.
There are two types of arguments:
- logical arguments ─ evidence that appeals to the human mind (scientific postulates, statistics, facts, numbers, literary and life examples);
- psychological arguments that evoke certain feelings in the reader and create an emotional perception of a person, event, or act, that we talk about in an essay. As a psychological argument, the feelings and thoughts of a student himself, an appeal to universal human values, and religious dogmas can be used.
The Most Common Mistakes
Finally, to assess the quality of your arguments, check your essay for these types of mistakes:
- The use of arguments is out of place: in this case, the essay turns into a set of general, unrelated phrases.
- The use of arguments that contradict each other or the applicant’s position. For example, I believe that a person should not forgive an insult, otherwise the abusers will continue to humiliate him.
- Replacing the actual argument with reasoning about what the author wanted to say.
- Distortion of quotes, adding your own phrases to them, free handling of facts, exact sentences, and phrases from external sources.