Claims, evidence and reasoning are the building blocks of a well-written explanation. When writing about a science topic or concept, writers are often faced with a challenging question or problem that they must address. The claim(s) in a text answers the question or makes a statement that addresses the problem. It is the writer’s responsibility to support a claim with evidence and reasoning so that the reader has a deeper understanding of the topic.
Explore the slideshow below to learn about how claims, evidence and reasoning are used in developing an explanation.
Claims, Evidence and Reasoning
A written explanation is often made up of a claim, evidence and reasoning. Together, these three components help readers to better understand what you write.
A claim is a conclusion that answers a question about scientific phenomena or a solution to a problem.
For example, in this claim from the Newsela article about water scarcity, the writer states that desalination, a process for removing salt from ocean water, is expensive and uses a lot of energy.
To explain and support this idea, the writer must provide sufficient evidence.
Writers include evidence to support claims. Evidence can be presented with facts, data, examples, research findings and quotes from experts. Evidence must be sufficient and relevant to your claim.
Examine the evidence that the writer uses to support this claim. The writer uses an example to show the high cost of desalination and a conclusion from research about how much energy might be required.
However, evidence alone may not be enough to help the reader understand or accept your claim as a writer. A good explanation will include the reason why the evidence supports the claim. Reasoning should be logical and valid.
Examine the reasoning that connects the evidence to the claim in this example. The writer explains that the amount of energy needed drives up the cost of the water.
As you write explanations on scientific topics, be sure to support your claims with sufficient evidence and logical reasoning that explains why your evidence supports your claim.
Now go the next page to practice identifying claims, evidence and reasoning in a text.