Academic Evaluations

What Kinds of Evidence Work

Good evidence ranges from personal experience to interviews with experts to published sources. The kind of evidence that works best for you will depend on your audience and often on the writing assignment you have been given.

Evidence and Audience Considerations

The amount and type of evidence you use to support your judgments will depend largely on the demands of your audience. Common sense tells us that the more oppositional an audience is, the more evidence will be needed to convince them of the validity a judgment. For instance, if you were writing a favorable review of La Cocina on the basis of their fiery green chile, you might not need to use a great deal of evidence for an audience of people who like spicy food but have not tried any of the Mexican restaurants in town. However, if you are addressing an audience who is deeply devoted to the green chile at Manuel's, you will need to provide a fair amount of solid evidence in order to persuade them to try another restaurant.

Evidence and the Writing Assignment

When you choose evidence to support the judgments you are making in an evaluation, it will be important to consider what type of evaluation you are being asked to do. If, for instance, you are being asked to review a play you have attended, your evidence will most likely consist primarily of your own observations. However, if your assignment asks you to compare and contrast two potential national health care policies (toward deciding which is the better one), your evidence will need to be more statistical, more dependent on reputable sources, and more directed toward possible effects or outcomes of your judgment.

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Introduction