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Reporting evidence persuasively

This section explains your goals when you are reporting evidence in written assignments.

Goals when reporting evidence

When you report evidence gathered from your sources, you want to demonstrate to your reader that:

  • you have not just read your sources but have read those authors critically.
  • the evidence you have selected to assess and report supports the arguments you are developing and the conclusions you are drawing.
  • the way you have developed your arguments and drawn your conclusions is a very good way (if not the best way) to respond to the topic.

How to be persuasive

To persuade your reader of the strength and validity of your approach to the topic, you need to use language which will help align the reader's viewpoint with your own.

You want to show that you strongly endorse evidence which supports your line of reasoning and builds towards your conclusions.

You also want to distance yourself (and the reader) from evidence which may run counter to the perspective you are reporting, or which you feel is less relevant or appropriate.

If your writing appears confusing and directionless, or if all your evidence appears to carry the same weight and the same degree of endorsement, your writing will not present a position on the topic.

Your readers will read your evidence, but they will not be able to see what position you have taken - how you have interpreted and weighted this evidence, and what overall argument you are supporting with it. In this case, your confused or frustrated readers (not what you want) are likely to question or reject the arguments you present, the conclusions you have drawn about the topic and your overall scholarship.

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