• EVIDENCE vs. ELABORATION:  What is the difference?


    ♣ Evidence:  Relevant pieces of text information that support the topic  (WHAT--from the text)

    ♣ Elaboration:  Explanation of the evidence and how it supports the topic  (WHY--from your head)


    Good writers use concrete, specific details, and relevant information to construct mental images for their readers. Without this attention to detail, readers struggle to picture what the writer is talking about, and will often give up altogether.


    Two important concepts in support and elaboration are sufficiency and relatedness.


    Sufficiency refers to the amount of detail--is there enough detail to support the topic? Good writers supply their readers with sufficient details to comprehend what they have written. In narrative writing, this means providing enough descriptive details for the reader to construct a picture of the story in his/her mind. In expository writing, this means not only finding enough information to support your purpose, whether it is to inform or persuade your audience, but also finding information that is credible (believable) and accurate.


    Sufficiency, however, is not enough. The power of your information is determined less by the quantity of details than by their quality.


    Relatedness refers to the quality of the details and their relevance to the topic. Good writers select only the details that will support their focus, deleting irrelevant information. In narrative writing, details should be included only if they are concrete, specific details that contribute to, rather than detract from, the picture provided by the narrative. In expository writing, information should be included only if it is relevant to the writer’s goal and strengthens rather than weakens the writer’s ability to meet that goal.



    EVIDENCE from Text

    What evidence from the text will you use to support your point?

    θ Expert

    θ Statistic

    θ Direct Quote

    θ Definition

    θ Description

    θ Example



    ELABORATION of the Evidence

    What can you say about the evidence?  What does it mean to you?

    θ Definition

    θ Explanation

    θ Example

    θ Experience




    Provides a definition of a term, process, or idea found in the evidence to help the reader better understand the evidence.


    Evidence:  Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is one possible reason why honey bees are disappearing.


    Elaboration:  Colony Collapse Disorder is when bees leave their nest but never return. Scientists think there might be something causing this, but they are not sure what it is at this time.




    Explain the evidence.  (Often used when a direct quote is given.)


    Evidence:  According to the authors, Africa lost more than 60% of its elephants to poachers over the last ten years.


    Elaboration:  That is more than half of all of the elephants in the country, and at that speed, elephants could die out.  This means my grandchildren may never get to see a real elephant, and I find this both serious and heart-breaking.



    (3) EXAMPLE

    Provide an example of the evidence.


    Evidence:  As the polar ice melts, polar bears become less afraid of humans as they look for food.


    Elaboration:  In “Polar Bears in Peril,” the photo shows a polar bear trying to get into a truck. As their habitat disappears, the bears are trying to find food wherever they can—even if it means risking their lives to get it.




    Provide an anecdote (short story) that supports the evidence.


    Evidence:  Research has shown that when kids unplug from their electronic devices and engage in free play their creativity soars.


    Elaboration:  I know this is true for my siblings and me.  Sometimes my parents get upset with all the time we spend looking at our “rectangles,” so they kick us out of the house to play outside.  In the winter, we have constructed snowmen and snow-women and snow-babies of all sizes and have adorned them with our own personal belongings such as scarves and hats and mittens. We’ve used an assortment of natural and household supplies such as buttons, carrots, rocks, sticks, and candy to create a variety of facial expressions and body parts.  Using different items gave them all a unique appearance--some were funny while others a bit creepy. I’m not normally a very creative person, but playing outdoors has a way of bringing out the inner artist in me.​