IM 355 01, 02 & 03: Interactive Media Theories, Concepts, and Practices

Spring 2020

Presenting Your Evidence

At the bottom of this page, note that this assignment is different than the initial assignment about evidence. First, a reminder about evidence.

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Evidence is material, acceptable to the audience, presented in support of claims.

There are some key features to attend to.

1. Evidence isn't just anything/everything you can find and present. If the material is not acceptable to the audience, it won't serve as support for claims, so doesn't stand as "evidence." Think of the courtroom analogy when a judge, for whatever reason, refuses to allow a piece of evidence to enter the case (even though the lawyers spent a lot of time finding/working up the evidence).

2. The acceptability of evidence depends on a number of factors, including

a. The reliability of the source. If the audience doesn't find the source "credible," the material provided by that source won't serve as evidence. For that to happen, the audience often has to know who/what the source is, how they know (why are they expert?), that they aren't overly biased on the issue (that they don't have a lot to gain from their position), and that the material has been taken from the source accurately and fully enough to not be "taken out of context" (among other tests).

b. The currency of the material. Although new material is not always better than old material (sometimes history matters and often background gives context to a question), not knowing about and presenting the most current information about the matter can serious undermine the credibility of the person making the claim and supporting it with old evidence.

c. The applicability of the evidence to the claim. We will look, later, at some of the ways evidence is applied to claims via reasoning/warrants. But for now, suffice to say that evidence is not just the material you present "after" making a claim. The audience will have to see the connection between the evidence and the claim. So in addition to the logical issues we'll take up later with reasoning/warrants, the evidence has to be appropriate to the kind of claim that you made. For example, if you've made a fact claim about the size of something, providing measurements as evidence fits better than providing a discussion of the quality of the materials used.

d. Presentation matters. As with everything in communication, if the material isn't presented clearly, the audience will have a difficult time applying the evidence to the claim the way(s) that you present evidence are crucial to their uptake and effects.

e. Documentation. Whenever evidence is used, it has to be presented following the normative "rules" of the genre in which it is presented. Courts have rules of evidence, medical diagnosis and treatment decisions are made based on satisfactoryly determined sets of symptoms. In scholarly writing, one has to provide clear indications for the sources of the material, otherwise, the audience might come to think that we are "just making it up" and "don't really know the facts of the matter" so might dismiss our claims. Documentation is tied to credibility.

There are many kinds of evidence. Including:

Expert Testimony: the quoted, spoken, words of a content expert on the matter of interest. Their "bona fides" (certified qualifications by degree and/or direct experience at high levels) matter.

Expert Quotation: the quoted, written words of a content expert on the matter of interest. Their "bona fides" (certified qualifications by degree and/or direct experience at high levels) matter.

One can also present testimony and/or quotation from sources that are not "expert." These could include reporters, participants, and witnesses. Obviously, as crediblity is lowered by lack of expertise, direct experience, or personal bias based on self-interest, the persuasive effects of the material are lowered.

Physical evidence: Material objects (when used in written papers, represented via pictures).

Scientific evidence: Reports of findings from scientific research, study, and testing. One has to be careful to present theories as theories rather than as fact. Remember that science "indicates," at (hopefully) high rates of certainty, rather than "proves."

Statistics and numerical analysis (including the charts/tables/graphs/spreadsheets that help audiences understand the numbers). The numbers represented could be actual counts (numerical) or projections/interpolations (statistics).

Examples: stories of incidents. These range from eye witness news reports of events rendered by professional reporters to "tall tales" (almost fables) spun by "folks" who claim to have been there or who claim to "know." Obviously, the quality of the example as evidence varies based on the degree to which the events actually happened and the story through which the example is presented is accurate and believable. Hypothetical examples are usually very weak evidence, lending them more to story-telling than to argumentation. Personal examples are usually very weak, due to the obvious bias factor in that the person making the claim is also serving as the source for the evidence.

It's always good to remember that your evidence may lead to the audience being convinced of your claims because you've provided proof. It's NOT recommended that you conclude you've "proven" your claim. Providing proof (evidence) helps your audience decide about the claim; saying that you've "proven" it, often causes your audience to have to decide more about whether they want to go that far (it's been proven) than considering the validity of your claim.

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This assignment is Reading Summary (8)

When your reading summary is targeted at presenting YOUR evidence:

First, summarize the chapter. THEN:

I want you to practice various ways to present evidence in your writing, so do this assignment in full sentence and paragraph form.

Lead the first paragraph with your first main point claim, then present two pieces of evidence using proper (modified by my instructions) MLA reference form. See the reference/bibliographical format page. Since all of the material comes from the book and you are going to indicate page numbers, you do not need to produce a reference section for the assignment. However, please practice using proper MLA-style INTERNAL citations for the material.

Produce a second paragraph with your second main point claim, then present two pieces of evidence using proper (modified by my instructions) MLA reference form.

In the course of the assignment, produce one example of using evidence in each of the FOUR (4) following ways (one for each piece of evidence you use: two in the first claim and two in the second claim).
Label each instance for the type you are doing; If you don't label each, I won't count them.

Produce one example of each of the following 4 formats.

1) Author's name in text.

2) Title of the material in text, author's name in reference.

3) Passage from an article or book, presented in an other book.

4) Online source with numbered paragraph.

You are to find material supporting each of these usages within the assigned reading. The material for this assignment is in the chapter you read, or in its notes, or in the reference section at the end of the book.

You are making 2 claims about the reading (the lead sentence of the paragraph) and then supporting those claims with evidence you find within the reading, presenting that evidence in 4 slightly different ways (2 different ways per claim/paragraph).

Claim 1:

Evidence in one of the four styles, labeled.

Evidence in one of the four styles, labeled.

Claim 2:

Evidence in one of the four styles, labeled.

Evidence in one of the four styles, labeled.

An example:

First, summarize the chapter. (no example of that here)

My Evidence

Chapter 12

(claim 1) The Internet was envisioned to give individuals a greater degree of control unknown in a communication system. Here Licklider from his work “Man-Computer Symbiosis” tells his dreams for greater communications.    Licklider notes that “The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought” (Wu 171).
Evidence 1 (Passage  from an article or book, presented in an other book)

Wu showed that the Internet was to improve communication because we now use it in our every day lives, as a thinking aid, an organizer, and a way to keep track of our friends (172).
Evidence 2 (Author’s name in text)

[in this example, two chapters were used. Your assignment includes only part of one chapter]

Chapter 15

(Claim 2) Although AT&T enjoyed approximately fifty years of control over electronic communication via their phone monopoly, they could not control the Internet. In The Master Switch, we see that even though AT&T provided the infrastructure, they did not monopolize the Internet. They initially did not want to compete with themselves and when they finally decided to "get in," Internet pioneers chose TCP/IP over AT&T's protocol. (Wu  199-203).
Evidence 3 (Title of material in text, author’s name in reference)

According to Vinton Cerf, AT&T was skeptical that ARPANET would work: “The demo was a roaring success, much to the surprise of the people at AT&T who were skeptical about whether it would work.” (Wu, 198).
Evidence 4 (Online source---FOUND IN THE CHAPTER OR IN THE NOTES TO THE CHAPTER OR THE REFERENCE SECTION OF THE BOOK. NOT NEW RESEARCH BY YOU).

(A) Concept Exams

(B) Text Reading
Summaries/Analyses

(C) Concept Application
Notes & Discussions
(D) 3-part-Research Writing Project
(E) Extra Credit Grading Special Considerations
Concepts Schedule IM 355 Homepage