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Rules of Evidence

Page history last edited by Jayson Yeagley 13 years, 2 months ago

Rules of Evidence

When evaluating evidence as a writer or a reader, the following rules should be adhered to:


1) Each fact must be accurate.


  • Be sure to copy information, especially quotations, accurately. Pay special attention to dates and the spelling of names.
  • Treat statistics with caution.
  • Do not use quotes out of context. Manipulating evidence has its place in the courtroom, politics, and tabloids, but not in academia. Make sure the quote you use reflects the intent of the speaker.

2) Each fact must be authoritative.


  • Make sure the source is reliable.
  • Make sure the source is unbiased.
  • Use information that is timely.

3) Each fact must be relevant. If you're writing about the unfairness of the BCS standings, don't include information about a coach's recruiting trip to the Dominican Republic.


4) Include enough facts to prove your point.



  • The amount of evidence depends on the thesis statement: the more controversial or debatable, the more evidence needed.
  • Be careful not to use too much evidence; readers get bogged down with too many details.

5) Arrange facts in the best way possible.


  • Evidence can be arranged logically: general to specific, specific to general, least complex to most complex, most complex to least complex, general to specific, or specific to general.
  • Evidence can be arranged climactically: most exciting to least exciting or least exciting to most exciting.
  • Evidence can be arranged chronologically.


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