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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 6 What Is Evidence?
By: Ryan Fessler English 112 What Is Evidence? Evidence is used to support and prove our claim. Kinds of Evidence The most important kinds of evidence are:
• • • • • • • • • • • Personal experience Unpublished report Published report Eyewitness testimony Celebrity testimony Expert opinion Experiment Statistics Survey Formal observation Research review. Personal Research Personal research is something we remember that stuck out in our minds. When we discuss past experiences, we claim to remember every detail but sometimes we forget a few. ExampleRecalling an important or monumental event in your life. Unpublished Report Unpublished reports are stories told by others. Gossip is commonly used to describe these reports. These reports may be hard to prove because they have been passed from person to person and could have been altered. ExampleMyths and legends have been passed down from generation to generation orally. Published Report Published reports are found in a wide variety of published or broadcast works, from scholarly books, professional journals, and encyclopedia articles to magazine or newspaper articles, news broadcasts, and radio or television commentaries. ExampleDaily articles in the New York Times Eyewitness Testimony Eyewitness testimony is commonly considered to be the most reliable kind of evidence, but there are a few drawbacks to this evidence. The conditions of the event (fog, rain, influence of drugs, tiredness) may have altered the eyewitness testimony. The person’s memory of what occurred may change between the time of the event and the testimony. ExampleWhen an accident occurs at a local intersection, witnesses to the event would talk to police about their recollection of the accident. Celebrity Testimony Celebrity testimony is based on your respect towards celebrities. The more you respect certain celebrities, the more you trust them, and vice versa. ExampleIf you are very fond of a celebrity who is found guilty of incriminating charges, you are less likely to believe that they are truly at fault. Expert Opinion Expert opinion is one of the most reliable forms of evidence. Expert opinion is unreliable in the fact that knowledge in virtually every field is expanding. ExampleAn expert in the field of psychology may write articles on mental psychosis. It usually addresses the difference of what is typical and what is not. Experiment There are two broad types of experiments: The laboratory experiment allows researchers to change the conditions which helps to identify causes and effects accurately. The field experiment has the advantage of taking place in a natural setting, but the presence of researchers may have an effect on the subjects and alter the findings. A disadvantage of the laboratory experiment is that it may provide artificial results. ExampleResearchers could conduct an experiment measuring the average rainfall under certain geographical conditions. Statistics Statistics can be found through research and experiments. It is essentially data gathered over a determined period of time about a variety of different subjects (population, weather, etc.). The United States Census is an example of gathering statistics. Survey A survey is a collection of data from a representative sample of a group. Surveys can be conducted by phone, mail, or in person. They can be done randomly, systematically, or stratified. ExampleA questionnaire may be delivered via telephone. Formal Observation There are two types of formal observation: Detachedthe observer does not interact with the participant of the study. Participantresearcher becomes involved with the activity that is being studied. ExampleChild psychologist watching children as they play. ExampleAn anthropologist lives and carries out daily activities with a nomadic tribe. Research Review A reviewer conducts research on a subject that has been previously researched. They then compare their findings to the findings of the original research. ExampleCollege Administrators refused to listen to instructors requests based on evidence that had no correlation to the subject. Evaluating Evidence Being biased may change your evaluation of evidence. Here a few signs to watch for: You want one side to be correct and the other incorrect. You assume that since your views and the writer’s views are similar, they will be correct. You only look for favorable evidence for your side. You rate sources based on how they help your view rather than reliability. You make a bigger deal out of evidence that is against your views and a less of a deal out of evidence that is for your views. You also argue against opposing views before you have finished looking at the evidence. What Constitutes Sufficient What Evidence? Evidence? Evidence is sufficient when there is no room for doubt or dispute. Evidence is sufficient if one view of the issue has demonstrated probability over time. If the evidence doesn’t show one side to be more reasonable than the other, than it is insufficient. ...
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- Fall '07