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Research Fundamentals: Evidence

The Role of Evidence

Think of evidence as just one of the many tools you will use in presenting your research - whether in a paper, a speech, or a poster. Strong evidence, well-presented, provides credibility to your research product and supports whatever claims you are making - whether they are informative or persuasive.

Every type of evidence (examples, statistics, testimony) and every source of evidence (scholarly publications, interviews, media) contributes something different to your writing or speech presentation.

Types of Supporting Evidence

Statistical Evidence. Statistics and data are the product of research and, while useful and persuasive, are never neutral. Consider the source, completeness, and interpretation of all data. Statistical evidence can be incorporated into the main body of a text or speech or presented as a graph, chart, or infographic.

Testimonial Evidence. There are two types of testimonial evidence: 1.) eyewitness accounts and 2.) judgment of experts and authorities. The value of testimonial evidence depends on the credibility of the source.

Anecdotal Evidence. Stories may not provide strong evidence to an argument, but they can be useful in making certain topics feel "real" to your audience. Storytelling allows you to capture your audience's attention by tying other rhetorical strategies to a carefully selected narrative example.

Analogical Evidence. Analogies are comparisons between two things, usually for the purpose of explanation or clarification. By providing analogical evidence, you are using a subject or topic with which your audience is familiar to explain a new or unfamiliar topic. Analogies are illustrative and can help your audience see connections.


To locate sources for specific types of evidence,  see the Speech Research Guide: Finding Evidence

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  • Last Updated: Sep 3, 2019 6:04 PM
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