Evidence is anything that can be used to support your point. It could be a quote from someone you interviewed, a statistic you found on the internet, or even an anecdote (story) that speaks to your argument. Evidence helps your reader understand and make sense of what you’re telling them. It also helps give your work credibility and makes it more persuasive.
In this post, we will be discussing the various types of evidence and how they can affect your writing.
But, before that!
How Does Each Type of Evidence Vary From One Another?
Evidence may either be qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative is often numerical and can help answer something using mathematics and statistical analysis. Qualitative evidence is usually more open-ended and focuses on people’s opinions and thoughts rather than measuring precise numbers.
When you decide which type of evidence is best for your work, think about what you’re trying to get at and how it will affect your readers. Qualitative evidence may be more helpful than quantitative measures if you’re writing about something hard to quantify (like the emotional impact of a film).
On the other hand, quantitative evidence can be more persuasive to your readers. This is because numbers are more accessible for people to understand than someone’s opinion or story. It also allows them to judge the figures you present rather than having you tell them what they should think.
What Are the Types of Evidence?
There are several types of evidence, each one used for individual purposes. The common ones include;
1) Statistical Evidence
Statistical evidence includes any data that is collected through formal surveys, polls, or observational studies. Statistical evidence often appears as graphs, charts, and tables. While it can be used effectively for many purposes (such as detecting patterns), statistical evidence is most commonly used for numerical claims about the world around us. Example:
According to a study by Yale, 69% of students feel that they should have more say in campus affairs.
Reciting a series of discrete and verifiable facts can help support points that you’re trying to make. Ensure that these facts are relevant and necessary, as too many can bore the reader or cause them to lose focus.
Using statistics in your paper can effectively show that you have thoroughly researched your topic. It’s a suitable method of persuading your audience to agree with you because it conveys authority and credibility. Be sure that the statistics are relevant to your argument and are explained clearly so that the reader understands their significance.
2) Testimonial Evidence
Testimonial evidence is most commonly achieved through quotes. When someone is quoted, they are directly speaking for themselves, and their opinions carry the same weight as a claim made by another person. Because of this, testimonial evidence is used to lend credibility to a claim made by another writer. However, it can also be used to suggest alternative possibilities or further explain an idea. For example:
“I began to think about how it made me feel, and I realized that my attitude was affecting my success in life. If I wanted to change the way I felt about myself, then I could begin to do things differently.”
3) Anecdotal Evidence
Anecdotal evidence is based on the recollections and impressions of individuals rather than factual data. The evidence may be used to suggest possibilities or offer new perspectives on an idea. However, it should not be considered reliable for making accurate claims. Anecdotal evidence is often criticized for being based on unreliable memories or personal biases, which should be used with caution in most cases. For example:
“What do you enjoy most about high school?”
One student responds: “I love the small-school atmosphere and all of my old friends.”
Another student says: “High school is frustrating sometimes. The courses are hard, which makes it harder to get good grades.”
4. Analogical Evidence
Using analogy evidence can be a helpful communication tool because it allows you to explain abstract concepts in concrete terms. Be sure, however, that the analogy is adequate and appropriately unique to the audience. Analogies can quickly become distracting, so be careful not to overuse them.
An example of analogical evidence would be an article explaining how “eating healthy” is like giving your body a makeover.
The author explains how healthy eating is like giving your body a makeover. The author uses the analogy to explain the importance and benefits of healthy eating and apply this concept to their audience who may not be familiar with this idea.
Others Types of Evidence include;
5) Emotional Evidence
This type of evidence attempts to prove a claim by evoking a specific emotional response from the audience. This may be achieved through the use of anecdotes or descriptions.
It can be effective at persuading an audience, mainly when used in combination with logical reasoning.
However, it is not considered reliable because emotional responses are subjective and difficult to measure or compare.
6) Expert Opinion Evidence
This type of evidence involves using the knowledge and expertise of other people to make your argument stronger.
It is often achieved through quotes or references to external sources, such as published books and journal articles.
Experts can also be contacted directly for interviews to discover their opinions on a particular topic.
7) Physical Evidence
Physical evidence is any proof that can be observed with the human eye. It may include artifacts or documents, such as historical relics and official records.
It is most commonly used to support logical claims, particularly concerning cause and effect. Physical evidence is also often used to provide a link between two ideas – rather than directly connecting them – by demonstrating that they are similar in some way.
8) Symbolic Evidence
This type of evidence draws comparisons between two unrelated things based on their resemblance to each other. It is most often used when making claims about how something appears rather than what it is.
While it can be persuasive when used correctly, drawing comparisons between too many things will reduce its overall effectiveness.
9. Personal Experience Evidence
Using your own experiences and observations to bolster an argument is an excellent way of convincing your reader that you know what you’re talking about. However, the danger with this type of evidence is that it can appear self-indulgent and biased if not handled carefully. If using personal experience, establish why the testimony of an expert isn’t necessary to prove your point.
Including a quote as evidence, especially from someone famous or influential, can add weight and credibility to your argument. Ensure that the quote is applicable and used effectively. If any part of the quote is crucial to your argument, include it in your paper and explain why it’s essential
When Should You Use What Kind of Evidence in Your Work?
The most critical aspect of determining what kind of evidence you need is your thesis. A good thesis will answer the following questions:
- What are my topic and sub-topics?
- How do I plan to discuss each sub-topic?
- Why am I discussing these topics? (A good thesis will have a claim or hypothesis at the end of it.)
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can work on proving why your claims are valid.
If you’re writing an analytical essay, then your thesis is often considered an argument. An argument consists of facts and statistics to support your main point (or hypothesis).
Therefore, in this case, quantitative evidence will be the best to back up your claims. Qualitative evidence is most appropriate if you’re writing an essay about an experience you had in undergrad.
It allows readers to make their own judgments about your work rather than imposing them upon them.
When writing argumentative essays, evidence is everything. Without strong supporting evidence, your claims will lack substance, and your reader will have no reason to believe you. Using multiple types of evidence in your essays can be an effective way of bolstering the overall quality of the paper.
Feel free to use this list as a reference when constructing your next argumentative essay. Be well equipped to use the best types of evidence to convince your reader that your argument is valid.