New College Writing Program

Evidence: Any information that supports the claims we make might be used as evidence. Expert testimony, statistical information, and first-hand observations are among the most common forms of evidence. Consider again the scenario of a student researching the connection between violence in the media and violence in society. What kinds of evidence might be available? Studies by sociologists? Criminology reports on the media habits of those who have perpetrated crimes with guns? Psychological profiles of shooters? As with any decision a writer has to make, choices about what kinds of evidence to use should be made with the expectations of an audience in mind.

Here are some common forms of evidence and an example for each in the context of an argument for providing greater resources for refugees who reach the United States from other nations:

First-hand account A personal story told by a refugee or by an aid worker at an internatinal border.
First-hand account The public statement of a faith-leader asserting a moral responsibility to assist people in need.
Expert testimony The report of a United Nations investigator attesting to the dangerous conditions in the home countries of refugees.
Expert testimony An article written by an econoist questioning the widespread claims about the economic burden refugees put on the federal budget of the United States.
Case Study An article written by sociologists that documents the difficult and dangerous experience of refugees leading up to their departure from their country of origin.
Statistical Information Data including the successful transition into United States society of refugees who have received medical attention.
Statistical Information U.S. State Department data on the increase of refugee emigration from areas of natural disaster or political conflict.
Textual Evidence In many cases, evidence comes in the form of textual interpetation of "close reading." For example, arguments in the humanities and social sciences are often built on analysis of primary documents such as historical documents, literary texts, government documents and many other kinds of texts. 

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