Supporting Evidence

Course(s) Used:

  • Public Speaking

Goals and Objectives:

  • Students understand how evidence supports other evidence in tiers.
  • Students understand the types of evidence.
  • Students understand where to find evidence to support their claims.
  • Students understand the importance of using diverse forms of evidence.
  • Students know how to cite their evidence in presentations.

Rationale: All presentations are built around a series of claims that are supported by evidence. Presentation with well supported claims that are addressed by several diverse forms of evidence are significantly more effective.

Formative Assessment:

  • Download the activity document from the Learning Management System
  • Identify the problems with each set of supporting evidence
  • Upload the document to the Learning Management System

Materials Needed


  • None


  • Classroom computer and projector, personal devices

Outline of the Lesson

  1. Review of previous session’s content
  2. Lesson opening
  3. Claims require evidence. This evidence may also require evidence of its own
  4. Supporting your claims1
    1. Types of Evidence
      1. Empirical Evidence can be independently verified
      2. Testimonial Evidence depends on the judgment of experts
      3. Anecdotal Evidence depends on personal experiences
      4. Analogical Evidence shows how something unfamiliar is similar to something familiar
    2. Forms of evidence
      1. Numbers: Statistics, Data, Charts, and Graphs
      2. People’s Words: Quotations, Paraphrases, and Summaries
      3. Things: Artifacts, Examples, Photographs, and Illustrations
      4. Stories: Narrative, Personal Experiences
  5. Getting evidence2
    1. Creating evidence
      1. Experiments
      2. Observations
      3. Interviews
      4. Surveys
      5. Personal experience
    2. Finding evidence in credible print, media, and electronic sources
      1. Finding evidence means that what you find supports your claims, not finding a source that is making the same argument as you. Your sources don’t have to be on the same subject as your presentation.
      2. Types of Sources
        1. Scholarly Sources are produced by academics and researchers. Nearly always have a bibliography.
        2. Professional Sources are produced by experts in their own trades.
        3. Popular Sources are produced for a general audience.
        4. Social Sources include Twitter and blog posts.
        5. Avoid Biased Sources
      3. Google Search Tools3
        1. Advanced Search
        2. Google News
        3. Google Scholar
      4. The Library
        1. Holdings
        2. Inter-library Loans
        3. Databases
    3. Slow Down!
      1. Wikipedia
      2. Online versions of print sources
  6. Hands-on group work
    1. Read a news story online (10 minutes)
      1. Identify the types of evidence used
    2. Discuss with your group (5 minutes)
      1. Which forms of evidence were used?
      2. Which types of evidence were missing?
      3. Did the author diversify their evidence?
      4. What evidence should they add (and how can they find it)?
    3. Debrief the activity
  7. Lesson closing


This lesson requires student access to online resources and personal devices.

Variations and Accommodations

Follow guidance from local accommodation authorities. Students for whom technology usage will present an unreasonable burden may be accommodated on an individual basis. Students may be placed in groups strategically if needed.

  3. If all of your sources are webpages, you did it wrong. ^