Maybe you‘re writing an essay, maybe you‘re developing a campaign, or maybe you‘re trying to communicate a complex issue to a non-expert audience. Whatever the activity, there are often times in life when we are trying to get an important point across. We need to convince someone of its significance and why they should listen or take action on it. However, we are not always successful and it can sometimes feel like no one is listening or people just don‘t understand our point.
To have the best chance of getting people to understand your point, you need to build a compelling argument. And to do that requires the use of high quality and persuasive evidence to underpin it. Evidence refers to any information that helps to support the case that you‘re trying to develop.
Without an evidence base, a campaign, for example, could set off on a course of action that duplicates work already out there, expends resources on an issue that turns out not to be a problem at all or to have already been resolved, or damage an organisation’s reputation by using out-of-date statistics or anecdotal evidence based on rumour that can’t be substantiated. At the very least, an argument without supporting evidence may be quickly dismissed as flimsy, unsubstantiated and lacking credibility.
Evidence is essential and time should be invested in pulling together good quality evidence. Not only does this help avoid problems down the line, but it also provides both the hard facts and personal impact of an issue and helps derive powerful messages. Evidence-based arguments are more likely to be successful as they have considered an issue and potential solutions from different angles and have a good sense of what will and won’t work in practice.
So, if you find yourself needing to bolster your argument or story, why not sign up to our short online course on How To Use Evidence?
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