When I students how to write evidence in essay body paragraphs, I tell them to imagine themselves as a jury in a murder trial. Each juror will be convinced by different types of evidence. Some lean on eyewitness testimony; others only trust forensic evidence; one or two may be swayed by the logic of circumstantial Wouldn’t it make sense for a prosecuting attorney to reach out to all juror interests to make her case?
Similarly, student writers need to consider the needs of their audience in the types of evidence they include in essay body paragraphs. Following are eight types of evidence with a clever memory trick for students to reference. Of course, not all eight types of evidence would be appropriate for all argumentative (CCSS W 1.0) and informational-explanatory (CCSS W 2.0) essays.
Types of Evidence: FE SCALE C
1. Fact means something actually done or said.
Neil Armstrong was the first person to step on the moon. He said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
2. Example is a part of something used to explain the whole thing.
Peas, beans, and corn are examples of vegetables.
3. Statistic is an amount, fraction, or percentage learned from scientific research.
The world has over 7 billion people; half live in Asia; only 5% live in the United States.
4. Comparison means to show how one thing is like or unlike another.
Both automobiles are available with hybrid engines, but only one has an all-electric plug-in option.
5. Authority is an expert which can be quoted to support a claim or a topic.
According to the Surgeon General of the United States, “Smoking is the chief cause of lung cancer.”
6. Logic is deductive (general to specific) or inductive (specific to general) reasoning.
All fruits have vitamins and apples are fruits, so apples have vitamins. The first 10 crayons I picked were red, so the whole box must be filled with red crayons.
7. Experience is a personal observation of or participation in an event.
Hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back requires careful planning and takes most of the day.
8. Counterclaim is the argument against one’s point of view, which the writer then minimizes or refutes (proves wrong).
Some argue that a high protein diet is healthy because… However, most doctors disagree due to…
Want to download and print 8 colorful types of evidence posters with explanations and examples? Click Types of Evidence Posters.
Teachers may also be interested in these three articles: How to Improve Writing Style, How to Write an Introduction and How to Write a Conclusion. Each article includes a link to different writing posters. All are free to download, print, and use as reference tools for your students.
Need the step-by-step resources to teach the argumentative (CCSS W 1.0) and informational-explanatory (CCSS W 2.0) essays? Find 8 complete writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informational-explanatory) with accompanying readings, 42 sequenced writing strategy worksheets, 64 sentence revision lessons, 64 rhetorical stance openers, additional remedial worksheets, writing fluency practice, posters, and editing resources in Teaching Essay Strategies. Also get the e-comments download of 438 writing comments to improve written response and student revisions.