Claims in writing need to be backed up with adequate evidence, i.e., additional information from the work of others that supports or develops a claim and adds credibility to propositions and arguments. One common trait of poor academic writing is insufficient or inappropriate use of evidence. Often writers read many resources on a topic and simply copy down quotations to assemble an essay. However, they need to go further than that by establishing balance between the author’s and writer’s own words. The student-writer needs to show that they understand what they have read by paraphrasing and summarising rather than simply copying information.
Some types of evidence are highly valued in academic writing while others should be avoided. Evidence from reputable sources, usually other academics or researchers in organisations acknowledged to be leaders in their area of study, is considered to be high quality evidence. Importantly, evidence from multiple sources is more convincing than further evidence from the same source. Evidence from the personal experience of the writer and the evidence which cannot be correctly referenced should generally be avoided in academic writing.