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Good academic writers will offer evidence to support what they say – just as you will, in your own work. In order to judge whether you agree with a writer’s conclusions, or to say that you are persuaded by one idea rather than another, you need to be able to evaluate the evidence: to assess whether or not the evidence is convincing. It is not enough to write, ‘There is evidence on both sides’ – evidence does not all carry equal weight, and you need to be able to decide which evidence is more reliable and which more questionable.
Identifying and evaluating evidence are aspects of critical thinking, and this section will help you to develop these skills. At the end of this section you will be able to:
- how to evaluate evidence and source of evidence
- recognise when language or numerical data are being used to persuade the reader to adopt a particular view
- assess whether or not the evidence presented actually supports the conclusions drawn by the writer.