Chapter 8: Gathering Research and Establishing Evidence
Now that you have a thesis statement, you need to find evidence that supports your arguments. Think about a conversation you’ve had with your friends when you wanted them to agree with you. Whether it’s picking a restaurant or a movie on Netflix, you had to argue for why your choice was the best. While you probably started with your own personal belief that Restaurant A is the best place in town, or Movie B is the greatest masterpiece of all time, you might have moved towards evidence outside of your own personal beliefs. You may have pointed out the restaurant had amazing ratings or tweets from celebrities who ate there. In short, you had outside evidence that supported your argument. Sound familiar?
As you can see from the scenario above, you already know how to gather evidence. Every time you use Google to look up reviews for restaurants and movies, you are doing research. Academic research is more intensive than your typical daily Google research. It can take hours to collect your evidence. You will have to figure out your search strategy, what types of evidence you need (scholarly articles, statistics, books, news reports), and use different types of search engines and databases to find them. Ultimately, you will have to evaluate what you find. One of the main things to remember from this chapter is that not all information is reliable. There is a lot of non-credible information out there, especially on the internet where anyone can publish. Putting the keywords of your thesis into Google and hitting enter will just not cut it. You are beginning your journey as a researcher, so give yourself time to find legitimate sources; when you get frustrated, seek help from your friendly librarian; and above all, work on developing a critical mind when reading your sources.
This chapter is designed to walk you through finding and evaluating the evidence you need to support your argument and to start you on your way to becoming a researcher. By the end of this chapter, you will have chosen two supporting pieces of evidence that you have evaluated to be scholarly and appropriate in supporting your argument.