How to Find and Use Evidence within Persuasive Writing

Instructional Strategies and Activities


Time: (2 mins) 

*Evidence: the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid* 

Students are going to be asked to recall how evidence is used within a courtroom to prove that someone is innocent, or guilty, of a crime. Suggest that they consider using an argument they may have had over politics, the needs of the neighbor, climate change, or any other controversial topic. Ask whether the students felt that they could cite sources using good evidence for their side of the argument or if they struggled to make a convincing case. Lastly discuss how students are going to be able to find, understand, use relevance, and reliable evidence and how it can be one of the best ways for a speaker or write or to gain respect.


Time: (1 min)

This lesson is about using evidence found in written documents such as newspaper articles or other informational text to be able to support an opinion argument or claim.

Presentation / Modeling / Demonstration

Time: (3 min)

Learners will view a clear statement with key concepts or phrases that are highlighted. Students will view an article that I have chosen on a topic referenced in my claim. Students will see the evidence and claims relationships highlighted. I will further explain the reasons for the highlighted portions.

Claim:  The President of Togo should resign from his office because he has been the President of the Republic of Togo for more than 50 years and the people of Togo are protesting for limited presidential terms and free elections for the republic.

 Evidence (from an article): "Over the past few weeks, hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Togo, calling for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe. The most recent protest took place on Thursday, where riot police fired tear gas at a crowd of people who had gathered at the capital, Lome. Demonstrators said they were determined to stay in the streets all night but were eventually dispersed by security forces.

It is the first time in Togo's history that the country's opposition parties have formed a united mass movement of more than 100,000 people. Clad in yellow and red t-shirts, the protestors shout, "Free Togo!", "Faure must go!" and "50 years are enough!" – a clear message to the Gnassingbe family dynasty who have led the country since the 1967 coup d 'état.

[…] "We will continue to pursue our goals," the leader of the Pan-African National Party (PNP), Tikpi Salifou Atchadam, told DW. They want the 1992 Constitution of Togo to be amended to limit the presidential term to two five-year terms. They also want Togolese citizens living abroad to be able to participate in elections: of approximately seven million Togolese, around two million live outside of the country."

Yellow:  These phrases support the claim that "50 years are enough" for the President. 

Blue: This phrase suggests evidence, with words like "Constitution" and "elections." It supports the second part of the claim that the opposition is trying to change the Presidents dynasty with democracy.

Further Activities:

·      Ask students to go through the article and search for more evidence.

·      Ask students to explain evidence using their own words.

·      Ask students to share their claims with the class with support and evidence

Guided Practice

Time: (20 min)

Learners are asked to consider what they want to write about any persuasive essay. They will be asked several questions such as “What do you want to change at home? Within the community? School?” Students will also be asked questions such as “are there topics you have a strong opinion on?” I will have the students jot down a few topics that they are interested in. Then they will write a sentence describing their beliefs about a topic that they want to write about.

I will tell the students that they do not need to stick with the one topic they choose today, they can change it later if they decide that they are more passionate about a different subject.

Students will then log onto the Internet and find print off and read articles that support their topic.

 Students will then highlight passages that they believe to be relevant when supporting their claim.

Until then fill out the worksheet “Explain your Evidence” with:

·       Claim statements

·       Quoted statements

·       Quotes in their own words

·       Explanation for why those quotes support their claim

Download: Explain Your Evidence.pdf

Explain Your Evidence  


Explain the evidence in your own words:

Explain how / why the evidence supports the claim:


Time: (5 min)

Download: Evidence Rubric.pdf


4 – Excellent

3 – Adequate

2 – Lacking / insufficient

1 – Does not meet criteria


The extent to which the response identifies and presents evidence from the provided text to support claim(s).

Chooses specific and relevant evidence to support claim(s)

Makes adequate use of relevant evidence to support claim(s)

Uses evidence that inadequately supports claim, or makes use of some evidence that may be irrelevant.

Presents little or no evidence from the text.


The extent to which the evidence is re-worded to indicate an understanding of content.

Paraphrases evidence clearly and concisely, showing full understanding of the text.

Paraphrases adequately.

Does not paraphrase in a way that indicates understanding of the entire quote, or passage.

Unable to paraphrase.

Why / How Evidence Supports Claim

The extent to which the connection between the claim and evidence is established , as well as relevance to the claim.

The connection between the claim and the evidence is clearly explained, demonstrating a thorough grasp of what makes the evidence persuasive.

The connection between the claim and the evidence is explained adequately.

The connection is only partially explained, or not explained clearly.

No connection is able to be explained.


Time: (20 min)

Using examples from the students' lives, they will do the following:

Use their notes that they have taken during this lesson to participate in a class discussion about why finding sources are so vital to a persuasive essay.

Share topics they are interested in.

Key Terms and Concepts

  • Evidence
  • Persuasive/argument writing
  • Paraphrasing
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