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Using evidence in your writing

You use evidence in your writing to support what you are trying to say. There are three things to consider:

  1. Whether you want to give prominence to the idea or the author – your citation style
  2. Which reporting verb to use
  3. What tense to use

Citation style

Idea prominent

When the idea is more important than the author.

Best for: scenarios, webcasts, definitions, concepts from textbooks

How to cite

Effective integration of the 4Ps is vital to a business’ success (Noddy, 2015).

Author prominent

When the author is also very important.

Best for key authors associated with specific theories or frameworks

How to cite

According to Timberlake (2015), market segmentation is …

Timberlake (2015) explains that market segmentation is …

Reporting verbs

A reporting verb is a word used to talk about other people’s ideas in your writing. It is important to understand the function of the verbs because they can show whether you agree or disagree with the author.

Some examples of reporting verbs:

Agree with information

Examples of reporting verbs: affirms, analyses, explains, proves, supports, argues, persuades

Disagree with information

Examples of reporting verbs: alleges, doubts, speculates, hopes, questions, comments

Feel neutral about the information

Examples of reporting verbs: confirms, expresses, maintains, assures, says, reports, acknowledges

There are many more reporting verbs that you can use in your writing. The University of Adelaide provides further information on types of reporting verbs to include in your writing.

What tenses should I use?

You would normally use the present simple tense in academic work, but you can also use the past tense to discuss events/research that has already taken place.

  • Present simple tense – “Smith (2016) explains that sustainability is …”
  • Past tense – “Smith (2016) observed that …”


Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 6th Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2010. p. 65-66.