Using Evidence in Writing – Forewarned Is Forearmed
What is evidence in writing? Every piece of evidence includes three interrelated elements: thesis, arguments, and demonstration. Each of these elements in the logical structure of the evidence performs its special functions, therefore none of them can be ignored in constructing logically correct evidence. Why is evidence important in writing?
What Is Evidence in Academic Writing?
For example, a lawyer needs to prove an alibi of the defendant. The lawyer, first of all, formulates the thesis and proves that on the day and hour of the crime the defendant was in a different place. Arguments in support of the truth of this thesis will be procedural evidence. The demonstration should visually convince the court (jurors) in a logical connection between the thesis of the lawyer and the facts established in the case. The same can be implemented while using evidence in writing. We consider each element of the evidence.
The thesis of a piece of evidence is a proposition, the truth of which is required to be proved. It is the main element of the evidence and answers the question: what is proved? The thesis can be formulated both at the beginning of the evidence, and at any other time. The thesis can be formulated in the form of a categorical proposition: “The position I am proving is as follows,” “I have to prove my problem,” “I am deeply convinced that …” etc.
- Arguments are the true judgments, with the help of which the thesis is confirmed or refuted. To prove the thesis is to result in judgments that would be necessary and sufficient to justify the truth of the thesis or its refutation. Arguments fulfill the role of the logical foundation of evidence and answer the question: by what is the substantiation of the thesis being conducted?
- Arguments can be: theoretical and empirical generalizations (laws of science, general provisions, rules, definitions, and axioms are practically obvious, requiring no proof), as well as statements about facts the truth of which is established. Using arguments is important for the evidence in an essay – they help you to prove something.
- A fact is a single phenomenon or an event that took place in reality. It is a very important kind of argument. Facts, or factual data, form the basis of the entire system of evidence in essay writing. But the facts, before becoming arguments, must be correctly understood. The same fact, taken in different relationships and connections, can be explained in different ways. Do not arbitrarily include only the necessary facts and forget the undesirable ones. Any one-sidedness with respect to facts leads to a misunderstanding of them – a conscious or unconscious distortion of them.
- Important kinds of arguments are the laws of science. The laws of science are truths expressing internal, essential, stable, repetitive, necessary connections between phenomena and processes. The arguments can be laws of physics, biology, etc. One of the essay evidence examples: the law of conservation of mass of matter justifies the position that nothing disappears without a trace.
- As arguments, axioms can be used. Axioms are provisions that do not require proof. In proving the truth or falsity of any proposition, definitions of concepts are often given as arguments. A definition is the result of deep knowledge of the objects reflected in this concept; it reveals the essential features of objects. Therefore, a reference to a definition may be sufficient to recognize the truth of the situation under this definition. A definition is taken as a truth that does not require proof.
Demonstration (the form of evidence) is a way of logically linking the thesis with the arguments. It is one of the forms of conditional dependence and answers the question: how are the arguments connected with the thesis? Arguments (a1, a2, …, an) serve as the basis for the proof, and the thesis (T) is their logical conclusion: a1, a2, …, an → T.
How to Use Evidence in an Essay
Evidence is the totality of logical means of the truth rationale of some judgment with the help of other true judgments connected with it. The structure of any evidence includes three components: a thesis, arguments, and conclusion or value judgment. To put theses and arguments in logical consequences it is required to know the methods of their connections.
The connection assumes interaction of the thesis and argument and it can be direct, indirect, and separating. The direct evidence is the evidence in which the truthfulness of the thesis is settled in the argument. For example: we don’t need to go to school, as it is Sunday. The method of direct evidence can be used via the technique of induction, dedication, analogy, and cause-effect relationships.
While writing an essay, it is extremely important how empirical data and other sources are used. All data correlates with a particular time and place, therefore, before you use it, you need to make sure that it corresponds to the time and place required for research. You can always avoid excessive generalization if you remember that in the essay framework, data serves as illustrative material, but not the closing act, which means it proves arguments and testifies that the author can use data in a proper way.
You should not forget that data concerning controversial issues is always in doubt. An author is not expected to give a particular or final answer. It is required to understand the essence of factual material connected with this question and show it in an essay. It is forbidden to refer to works that the author hasn’t read.
The quality of any essay depends on three interrelated components: the source material which will be used, the quality of processing this material, and argumentation. The essay writing process can be divided into several stages: brainstorming, planning, writing, proofreading, and editing. Special attention should be dedicated to the planning process. Planing is the determination of a goal, main ideas, information sources, deadline, and presentation of the work. The goal should determine the actions. So, after you understand how to use evidence in the essay, how to write the whole paper, there will be no writing problem for you.