Responding

Checking Your Evidence

The development of your response is completely dependent upon the kinds of evidence you choose to use to support your inferential thesis. Typical kinds of evidence for responses are drawn from personal experience, from outside sources, and, most importantly, from the text itself. It is not necessary to include all of three of these kinds of evidence for every kind of response, but almost certainly your evidence will include references to the text itself.

Choose the kind of evidence that makes sense for your essay. There is nothing wrong with drawing upon personal experience unless it really doesn't cast light on the topic or unless other forms of evidence would work better. Outside sources can often provide perspectives you might not have possessed before reading them; however, the use of outside sources does not eliminate the need for you to formulate your own conclusions and your own inferential thesis. Use outside sources, if you choose to use them at all, to add credibility and authority to your points.

Most importantly, remember that your primary task in a response is to react to the text itself. Stay close to the text, whatever form it may take, in formulating and delivering your response. Regardless of the other kinds of evidence you select for your response, your first and more important one is always the text itself.

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Introduction