Evidence alone does not make an argument for you. Imagine this for a moment. You meet your friend and the conversation goes as follows:
You: “Hello Stan, how’s life?”
Friend: “Hi, life is fine, but my mother won’t let me study Art in university!”

You: “Oh really? But maybe she just wants to be sure you have a good future.” Friend: “I don’t think parents should determine the future of their children.” You: “OK, but don’t you think that maybe she knows best?”
Friend: “It does not matter, freedom is a basic human right.”

You: “yeah, and?”
Friend: “Many people lost their lives fighting for freedom in the American civil war.”

How would you respond? What are they trying to show you? Are all your friends statements clearly connected?

In this situation. Your friend has given evidence but not shown how this evidence relates to “human rights” or “parents determining the future of their children”

System: Three-step analysis process.

Explain what the example shows by adding important details and briefly discussing what they mean.

 Can be achieved by splitting the evidence in to different sections or details and explaining what each section shows in a little more detail.

Strengthen the evidence by making deeper comparisons between the idea shown in the evidence and other aspects.

 Can be achieved by comparing the evidence to other situations in which it is different EG: A comparison between pre civil war human rights and modern human rights.

Connect the evidence to the paragraph topic sentence and essay thesis, this time by directly comparing the idea in the evidence to that in the reason and thesis.

 Can be achieved by showing how the evidence directly relates to a term in the thesis. EG: Show how the civil war resulted in freedom becoming a “human right” and then connect “human right” to “parents determining” the future of their children.

Working Example: Three-step process in practice.

In this working example, the three step analysis process had been applied to evidence in a single body (argument) paragraph to answer the question “Should parents determine the future of their children?” (ETS, 2015)

In the modern world, freedom to make choices is a basic human right that should under no circumstances be violated. Freedom of choice also covers future life paths, which under this premise would mean that the individual is free to make whatever choices they wish to build and determine their own future, and not have it determined for them by governments, friends, strangers or even parents. Freedom is not a luxury, it is a right. Take for instance the American Civil war, which began in 1861 and ended in 1865 with the passing of the 13th amendment, banning all slavery and giving black people their freedom. Step 1: Explain| The American Civil war was one of the bloodiest wars in history, with over 750,000 people losing their lives. This immense price, paid with human lives, resulted in the 13th amendment being added to the constitution, making freedom from ownership a basic human right within the American constitution. Step 2: Reinforce| Before the American civil war slavery was a common trade, in which black men were owned and forced to do whatever their masters required from them, resulting in absolutely no freedom of choice. Yet with the 13th Amendment, slave ownership was banned and the slaves were given their freedom, which allowed them to decide and shape their life as they wished. Step 3: Connect| Freedom is now a basic human right, and violation of this right is deemed illegal all across the globe. Freedom of choice is coupled with the right of an individual to determine their own future. Consequently, if parents determine the future of their children, they are in fact violating their children’s right to make their own choices and determine their own future.

Working Example: Example evaluation.

Thesis. No, parents should not determine the future of their children.

•With this thesis, the essay will argue that parents should not choose their child’s path for the future, but instead should let their children chose it for themselves.

•A thesis should be simple to avoid any confusion and directly answer the question. Reasoning. Freedom is a basic human right in the modern world.

• With this reasoning, the argument of the paragraph will center around the importance and value of freedom, using evidence from the history of American slavery.

Analysis step 1. Explain what the example shows.
• This step of the analysis showed that the price paid to achieve freedom was high and that

freedom has now become a basic human right, which should not be violated by anyone.

Analysis step 2. Reinforce the evidence.

  • This step compared the “freedom” of people before and after the civil war to show how the

    modern world allows people to control their own actions and decide their own future.

    Analysis step 3. Connect the evidence to the reason and thesis.

  • This part of the analysis connected “freedom” to parent control over their children and

    shows that by controlling their children, parents are violating their chilren’s human rights.


    ETS (2015) TOEFL TPO1-35 [Computer Software]. Princeton: IBT.