Using Evidence in Your Essay Part I: Distinguishing different types of evidence Example

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GRW4 Sp13 Blackburn Morrow Wk 5

Using Evidence in Your Essay
Part I: Distinguishing different types of evidence

Example - Gives a specific situation or anecdote where the idea might apply.
Fact - Information from a study or from research. This often (but not always) comes in the form of a statistic.
Einstein - A professional opinion on a topic. This does not give a specific situation where it might be true (like an example), or support the idea with proven evidence (like fact).

Directions: Read the following pieces of evidence. Then decide if they are fact, example, or Einstein.
1. Students seem to lack an understanding of the concept of intellectual property.
2. Unlike previous generations, students are always quoting from different elements of pop culture.
3. Services such as are so popular that they are currently processing upwards of 13,000 papers each day.
4. A large part of the plagiarism problem is that professors don’t distinguish between copying an entire paper from the internet and merely failing to cite sources properly.
5. Professors need to overcome the way they approach the issue of plagiarism.
6. Instead of acting like police, professors should talk to their students about why they value books less than their parents did.

Part II: Citing evidence appropriately
Reasons to cite -
1. To let the reader know that your arguments are well-supported and carefully researched.
2. To tell reader the original source in case he or she wants to look it up to learn more about the topic.
3. To avoid plagiarism.
Turn over for more on citations!

The most common ways to cite a source…
1. Beginning-of-sentence citation

Author’s last name





argues that genetic factors have played a role in people’s need to take risks.

2. End-of-sentence citation


(Author’s last name, year).

Genetic factors have played a role in people’s need to take risks

(Bellafonte, 1992).

Use end-of-sentence when: 1. you want to emphasize the information, rather than the source;

2. you refer to the source many times throughout the paper.

3. Full citation

Title (in “quotes”)

Author’s full name



In “Taking the Bungee Plunge,”

Gina Bellafonte


argues that extreme sports provide only a short-term superficial sense of satisfaction.

Use full citation when you want to emphasize the source, as well as the information (for example, when you are using opinion evidence).
Special situations…

  1. No date is given for the article.

  • Use the author’s name and (n.d.) for no date.

example: (Bellafonte, n.d.) or Bellafonte (n.d.)

  1. No author is given for the article.

  • Use the article title as you would use the author.

  • Use the full title the first time, then shorten it to 2-3 words for every subsequent use.

Beginning-of-sentence citation

Title (in “quotes”)



“Choosing Your Friends Wisely: How to Develop Lasting Friendships”


describes three common mistakes that occur in new relationships.

Subsequent uses - shorten the title to 2- 3 words.

“Choosing Your Friends”


presents results from a survey on long term friendships suggesting that learning how to argue respectfully is a key to making friendships last.

End-of-sentence citation


(“Title,” year).

Genetic factors have played a role in people’s need to take risks

(“Choosing Your Friends Wisely: How to Develop Lasting Friendships,” 2004).

Subsequent uses - shorten the title to 2-3 words

Genetic factors have played a role in people’s need to take risks

(“Choosing Your Friends Wisely,” 2004).

  1. More than one source supports the same idea

  1. List all the authors who support the idea in parentheses at the end of the sentence.


(Last name, year; Last name, year).

Prescription drugs are not always taken by the people who carry the prescriptions

(Galiana, 2008; Leland, 2010).

  1. You want to cite a source within a source.

  • Cite who said the quote or paraphrase

  • Give the citation of the article in an end-of-sentence citation.

  • When citing the article, use the phrase as cited in to clarify where the quote came from.


(as cited in Last name, year).

Robert, a 21-year-old student at Miami Business Law, claims that sometimes students need the extra concentration that they can get from drugs like Adderall

(as cited in Galiana, 2008).

Part III: Practice

  1. Choose a paraphrase from your outline. Write it here.



  1. Now, write the paraphrase using a beginning-of-sentence citation.



  1. Write the paraphrase again, using an end-of-sentence citation.



  1. Find an Einstein (or expert opinion) paraphrase in your outline. Write it here, using a full citation. Give as much information about the source as possible.



Introduction, Context, Interpretation
In order to use evidence effectively, you must be able to explicitly show how it relates to your topic.
Step 1: Introduce – what are you going to talk about?
Topic sentence: Most students think that grades are more important than academic honesty.
Step 2: Contextualize – give details to expand the topic. Tell your reader why it is relevant.
Context: Because good grades are required to get in to good schools, and subsequently get good jobs, many students focus on the grade, rather than on the process of learning.
Step 3: Quote or paraphraseinsert your evidence into the middle of this sandwich.
Evidence Paraphrase: According to a survey of high school students, Slobogin (2002) found that students think that cheating is not a bad way to get the grades they need to get into a good school.

Step 4: Interpret – say what the paraphrase means.
Evidence Interpretation: This perspective has allowed many students to rationalize their cheating. If students think of cheating as a tool to get into colleges, there is no reason for them to learn to produce their own work. This, in turn, may lead to even more plagiarism, as these students become adults and join the workforce.

adapted from Spitzer (2010); Dollahite and Haun (2006)

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