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11.6: Weaving in Evidence to Support Your Point

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  • Throughout your research essay, you need to include evidence that supports your points. There is no firm rule as to “how much” research you will want or need to include in your research essay. Like so many other things with research writing, it depends on your purpose, the audience, the assignment, and so forth. But generally speaking, you need to have a piece of evidence in the form of a direct quote or paraphrase every time you make a claim that you cannot assume your audience “just knows.”

    Hyperlink: See Chapter 3: “Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism” for more details on how to effectively introduce quotes and paraphrases into your research writing.

    Stringing together a series of quotes and paraphrases from different sources might show that you have done a lot of research on a particular topic, but your audience wants to know your interpretation of these quotes and paraphrases, and your reader wants and needs to be guided through your research. To do this, you need to work at explaining the significance of your evidence throughout your essay.

    For example, this passage does a BAD job of introducing and weaving in evidence to support a point.

    Example \(\PageIndex{1}\):

    In America today, the desire to have a winning team drives universities to admit academically unqualified students. “At many universities, the tradition of athletic success requires coaches to produce not only competitive by championship-winning teams” (Duderstadt 191).

    The connection between the sentence and the evidence is not as clear as it could be. Further, the quotation is simply “dropped in” with no explanation. Now, compare it with this revised and BETTER example:

    Example \(\PageIndex{2}\):

    The desire to always have a winning team has driven many universities to admit academically unqualified student athletes to their school just to improve their sports teams. According to James Duderstadt, former president of the University of Michigan, the corruption of university athletics usually begins with the process of recruiting and admitting student athletes. He states that, "At many universities, the tradition of athletic success requires coaches to produce not only competitive but championship-winning teams" (Duderstadt 191).

    Remember: the point of using research in writing (be it a traditional research essay or any other form of research writing) is not merely to offer your audience a bunch of evidence on a topic. Rather, the point of research writing is to interpret your research in order to persuade an audience.