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Civil War: How to Use Text Evidence

Information to help students when researching the Civil War.

How to use text evidence

When you write about something you have read, you need to use text evidence - that is, details from the text - to support the points you are making.  You can use text evidence in the form of a direct quotation  that (author's exact words) or a paraphrase (a restatement of what the author wrote).  You also need to explain WHY that text evidence is relevant.

Direct quotation: A quotation is an exact copy of the words the author or speaker uses.  Surround a direct quotation with quotation marks.

Paraphrase: To paraphrase is to put something written or spoken by someone else into your own words. A paraphrase is not surrounded by quotation marks.



Quote or paraphrase.

When using a direct quote, copy down the exact words from a sentence. Surround a direct quotation with quotation marks.

To paraphrase is to put something written or spoken by someone else into your own words.  You don't change the meaning of what the other person wrote or said, just the wording.  A paraphrase is not surrounded by quotation marks.



Make clear where your evidence comes from.

Identify who wrote or said what you are quoting or paraphrasing.  This is called "citing your source."  Include a page number.


Words to help you:

  •  according to (the author)
  • • (the author) claims
  • • (the author) suggests
  • • (the author) states
  • • (the author) writes
  • • (the author) reports
  • • (the author) describes
  • • (the author) implies
  • • (the author) explains
  • • (the author) argues
  • • (the author) declares
  • • (the author) observes
  • • (the author) notes
  • • (the author) reveals
  • • (the author) remarks

Explain why your text evidence is relevant.

Include a sentence that makes it clear how the text evidence supports your idea.  Reread the information you quoted or paraphrased and ask yourself, "So what?"


Words to help you:

  • • (the author) says this because
  • • this proves that
  • • this exemplifies how
  • • this confirms
  • • this demonstrates
  • • this describes
  • • this explains
  • • this illustrates
  • • this implies
  • • this suggests