Unit 4: Fundamentals of Academic Essay Writing

29 Steps for Integrating Evidence

A Step-by-Step Guide for Including Your “Voice”

To integrate evidence, you need to introduce it, paraphrase (or quote in special circumstances), and then connect the evidence to the topic sentence. Below are the steps for “ICE” or the “hamburger analogy.”

Step 1 Introducing evidence: the top bun or “I”

A sentence of introduction before the paraphrase helps the reader know what evidence will follow. You want to provide a preview for the reader of what outside support you will use.

  • Example from the model essay: (“I”/top bun) Peer review can increase a student’s interest and confidence in writing. (“C”/meat) Rather than relying on the teacher, the student is actively involved in the writing process (Bijami et al., 2013, p. 94).
  • Notice how the introduction of increasing interest and confidence provides a hint of the evidence that will follow; it links to the idea of becoming a more independent and engaged learner.

Step 2 Paraphrasing and citing evidence: the meat or “C”

Typically, in academic writing, you will not simply paraphrase a single sentence; instead, you will often summarize information from more than one sentence – you will read a section of text, such as a part of a paragraph, a whole paragraph, or even more than one paragraph, and you will extract and synthesize information from what you have read. This means you will summarize that information and cite it.

Paraphrase/summarize the evidence and then include a citation with the following information (A more detailed explanation of documentation, including citations, can be found in Unit 44: Documentation.

  • The author’s last name (but if you do not know the author’s name, use the article title).
  • The publication date.
  • The page number.

Formats for introducing evidence (when you know the author)

    • Gambino (2015) explains how social networks help foster personal connections (p. 1).
    • According to Gambino (2015), social networks help foster personal connections (p. 1).
    • Social networks help foster personal connections (Gambino, 2015, p. 1).

Formats for introducing evidence (when you the author is unknown)

    • Several tips for college success are explained (“Preparing for College,” 2015, p. 2).
  • Example from the model essay: Rather than relying on the teacher, the student is actively involved in the writing process (Bijami et al., 2013, p. 94).
  • Here we can see a paraphrase, not a direct quotation, with proper citation format.

Step 3 Connecting evidence: the bottom bun or “E”

In this step, you must explain the significance of the evidence and how it relates to your topic sentence or to previously mentioned information in the paragraph or essay. This connecting explanation could be one or more sentences. This “bottom bun” is NOT a paraphrase; instead, it is your explanation of why you chose the evidence and how it supports your own ideas.

  • Example from the model essay: (“I”/top bun) Peer review can increase a student’s interest and confidence in writing. (“C”/meat) Rather than relying on the teacher, the student is actively involved in the writing process (Bijami et al., 2013, p. 94). (“E”/bottom bun) As students take more responsibility for their writing, from developing their topic to writing drafts, they become more confident and inspired.
  • Notice how the “E” or “bottom bun” elaborates on the idea of becoming an independent learner. 

Step 3 Strategies : Questions to ask yourself when analyzing the function of evidence

What “move” is the “E” / bottom bun is making? (e.g. What’s the “function” of the “E” / bottom bun?”)

  • Is it interpreting the evidence?
  • Is it analyzing the evidence?
  • Is it describing an outcome?
  • Is it providing an example?
  • Is it making a prediction?
  • Is it evaluating the evidence?
  • Is it challenging the evidence?
  • Is it elaborating on evidence that came before in the paragraph/essay?
  • Is it comparing the evidence with something else or another piece of evidence?
  • Is it connecting the evidence to a previously stated idea in the paragraph/essay?

Choose a function: Evaluate, Compare, Analyze, Connect, Predict

Watch this video: Evidence & Citations

Watch this video on the importance of explaining your evidence and including citations.

From: Ariel Bassett

Language Stems for Integrating Evidence

The sentence stems below can help you develop your command of more complex academic language.

Stems to refer to outside knowledge and/or experts

  • It is / has been believed that…
  • Researchers have noted that…
  • Experts point out that…
  • Based on these figures… / These figures show… / The data (seems to) suggest(s)…

Stems for introducing example evidence

  • X (year) illustrates this point with an example about… (p. #).
  • One of example is…. (X, year, p. #).
  • As an example of this/___, ….. (X, year, p. #)
  • …. is an illustration / example of… (citation).
  • For example, …or For instance, …

Stems to support arguments and claims

  • According to X (year), …. (p. #).
  • As proof of this, X (year) claims…. (p. #).
  • X (year) provides evidence for/that… (p. #).
  • X (year) demonstrates that… (p. #).

Stems to draw conclusions (helpful to use in the explanation / bottom bun)

  • This suggests / demonstrates / indicates / shows / illustrates…

(In the above examples, you can combine the demonstrative pronoun “this” with a noun. Ex: “these results suggests…” or “this example illustrates…” or “these advantages show….”)

  • This means…
  • In this way,…
  • It is possible that…
  • Such evidence seems to suggest… / Such evidence suggests…

Stems to agree with a source (helpful to use in the explanation / bottom bun)

  • As X correctly notes…
  • As X rightly observes, …
  • As X insightfully points out, …

Stems to disagree with a source (helpful to use in the explanation / bottom bun)

  • Although X contends that…
  • However, it remains unclear whether…
  • Critics are quick to point out that…

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Academic Writing I by UW-Madison ESL Program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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