Why is it important to provide reliable support for a point?

When a writer makes a point or claim, his or her position should be supported by evidence from one or more reliable sources. Evidence from reliable sources can make an argument more convincing and build the credibility of the writer. In contrast, unsupported points or points supported by unreliable sources can compromise the integrity of the paper and the writer.

What kind of additional support can be added?

  • Quantitative data, such as statistics
    • Example: Present the percentage of a specific ethnic population in low-income housing units when making a claim related to racial poverty.
  • Empirical evidence from scientific research
    • Example: Provide data from qualitative research when comparing the effectiveness of different methods for teaching young children to read.
  • Quotes, paraphrases, and summaries from experts and specialists
    • Example: Use a quote from General Petraeus of the U.S. Army when discussing the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Anecdotal evidence and relevant narrative
    • Example: Interview a health food store owner to learn more about his or her experience with vegetarian food choices; include relevant narrative about personal experience with choosing a vegetarian lifestyle.

 What actions can be taken to locate additional support?

  • Search reputable academic databases: These databases, such as Academic Search Premier and JSTOR, include searchable collections of scholarly works, academic journals, online encyclopedias, and helpful bibliographies that can usually be accessed through a college library website.
  • Search credible news sources: Databases, such as Access World News, can be used to locate news articles from around the world. Articles from reputable news sources may also be found through careful Internet searches.
  • Search academic peer-reviewed journals: Journal articles that have been peer-reviewed are generally considered reliable because they have been examined by experts in their field for accuracy and quality.
  • Search Google scholar: This Internet search engine helps the user locate scholarly literature in the form of articles and books, professional societies’ websites, online academic websites, and more.
  • Ask for help at the library research desk: Library staff can provide useful services, such as assistance with the use of library research tools, guidance with identifying credible and non-credible sources, and personalized assistance with the selection of reliable sources.