Unit 4: Fundamentals of Academic Essay Writing

28 Introduction to Evidence Integration

Including Your “Voice”

It is important to include your voice in your writing. When writing a research paper, you need to show your thought process to the reader. Although your research paper will be based on your opinion which is supported with evidence, you must integrate the evidence into your own argument, with appropriate signal language. Your “voice” is your interpretation of the evidence and how it supports your claims.

Expressing your voice in academic writing can be explained using two different, but complementary frameworks, the ICE Framework and the Hamburger Analogy.

1 The ICE Framework

Writing effective academic essays requires the use of evidence to support your ideas. Your body paragraphs will include a topic sentence along with evidence you have selected from your sources. In addition, you must introduce, cite, and explain the evidence because the reader cannot see inside your head. You need to comment on the evidence in order to help the reader see its relevance. One framework for integrating evidence is known as “ICE:”

  1. I = INTRODUCE the evidence.
  2. C = Paraphrase the evidence and include a CITATION
  3. E = EXPLAIN the evidence.

Read the example paragraph from the model essay. In addition to the topic sentence and concluding sentence, the paragraph also includes:

  • Introduction of the evidence
  • Paraphrase and citation of the evidence
  • Explanation of the evidence

Peer review seems to have some unexpected benefits for the reviewer.There are some studies that show that students who review peers’ papers are more likely to improve their writing ability than students who receive peers’ comments. Lundstrom and Baker (2009) conducted a study which compared the improvements in writing between givers and receivers of peer feedback and found that of the two groups, the giver group made more progress in writing than the receiver group (p. 32). The givers (or reviewers) learned to judge their own work self-critically by evaluating their peers’ writing and transferring this knowledge to their own writing, resulting in significant improvements on their own papers. Thus, responding to a peer’s paper is an important way for a student to improve his/her own writing.

In the paragraph above, the writer has effectively incorporated the evidence into their argument. Notice that the writer’s “voice” or argument is present in the way they introduce and interpret the evidence. The ICE framework is widely used in higher education, and you’ll expand on this skill in ESL 118.

Another way to talk about evidence integration is to visualize it as a “hamburger.”

2 The Hamburger Analogyhamburger

  1. The introduction of the evidence is the TOP BUN.
  2. The paraphrase of the evidence with the citation is the MEAT.
  3. Your explanation of the evidence is the BOTTOM BUN.

In order to connect your evidence to the topic sentence, you need a “top bun.” The evidence – the “meat” – should relate to your thesis statement and support your argument. Perhaps the most important part of the hamburger, however, is the bottom bun: it is your responsibility, as a writer, to explain the significance of the evidence. This analysis of the evidence is YOUR explanation of why the evidence is important and how it relates to the topic sentence – and ultimately your thesis statement. In fact, a wise 117 student once said, “Without a bottom bun the meat will fall on the floor.”

Like the ICE Framework above, the “buns” represent your “voice.” Note that the paraphrased text does not dominate the paragraph, but rather supports the writer’s argument. In fact, a wise 117 student once said, “Without a bottom bun the meat will fall on the floor.”

As you read your own and your peers’ essays, try to identify the top and bottom buns and consider to what extent they “ICE” the evidence. Can you find a top bun? Has the “meat” been correctly cited? Is there a bottom bun? And does the bottom bun sufficiently explain the evidence? Mastering the skill of evidence integration will allow you to succeed in any academic writing course where you will write source-based essays.


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