In academic writing, every step of your argument must be fully supported. The quality of the supporting evidence you use determines how strong your argument will be.
- experimental: based on reproducible observed results
- statistical: based on numerical proof
- testimonial: based on the account of an expert or witness
- analogical: based on a similar (but not identical) case
- anecdotal: based on a single case or personal experience
- hypothetical: a “thought experiment” testing different (imagined) conditions
- the anecdotal fallacy may occur when we give own or another’s personal experiences or opinions as support without robust statistical or case evidence.
- the argument from authority fallacy occurs when we rely solely on the expert authority of the source without giving or analysing their arguments or evidence. A type of argument from authority also occurs when we use our own assurances to support a claim, as in “I am absolutely certain that x is true.”
- the straw man fallacy occurs when we misrepresent an argument in order to better attack it.