Supporting evidence is one of the most crucial components of academic writing. Evidence is what makes your claims credible; it is important to support each of your key ideas with facts, scientific research, and other data from external sources. However, amateur writers and students tend to make certain mistakes when supplying evidence; therefore, it is important to be aware of the typical flaws regarding this part of academic writing.
Typical Difficulties With Supporting Evidence
1. Forgetting to support introduced claims with evidence. Sometimes it occurs that students, due to being exhausted by numerous assignments (or because of simply being lazy) forget to mention the source they used to acquire information, or even make up their claims.
(unsupported claim) Students tend to forget new facts 25% faster if they feel sleepy.
(supported claim) According to recent research conducted by Maryland Imperial University of Goodness, students tend to forget recently learned facts 25% faster on average if they feel sleepy while receiving new information.
To avoid this mistake, reread your writing after you are done with it, paying the most attention to those parts of your body paragraphs where you introduce your main ideas. It would also be useful to make a list of sources you plan to use for writing.
2. Using resources that are not credible enough. The credibility of a source means the information presented in it is reliable and/or verified. Usually, the most credible resources (online) are those which URLs ending with .gov, .edu, or .com. Other resources, such as popular magazines, private websites, and especially blogs, should be treated with care or avoided.
3. Using your lecture notes to support claims made in academic writing. Your lecture notes are good for memorizing new information and helping you comprehend a subject in general. However, academic writing requires more specific information acquired from multiple sources. You can use your lecture recordings to navigate a subject, but it’s not enough to support your claim.
4. Old sources. Data acquired from a 50 year-old book may still be credible and accurate even in 2014, however, most academic institutions require their students to use only sources no older than a certain threshold (usually it’s 2-4 years). Always check whether the information you intend to use is not outdated.
5. Introducing evidence in the conclusion. Remember, only main body paragraphs and the introduction can contain cited facts and supporting evidence. Introductions are not used as the primary place to use specific evidence and facts, though they can present general information from sources. The introduction and conclusion must engage a reader in your written work, and summarize its meaning respectively.
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