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In this lesson we're going to look at
supporting your ideas with examples. In a discussion you should
elaborate with examples. Examples support your ideas. And they clarify your points so
others can see what you mean clearly. There are many kinds of examples
that you can use in a discussion. In this lesson, we are going to take a closer look
at four different kinds of examples. Facts & statistics, anecdotes,
analogies, and hypotheticals. So first let's look at facts & statistics. You can get this information from class
lectures, research, world news, or surveys and studies. Facts and
statistics are just what they sound like, true information and they're very
useful as supporting examples. Here's a discussion about
global water issues. One student says, I think access
to clean water is a huge problem. Well what does huge really mean? She follows that statement
with a statistic. 1.1 billion people don't
have access to water. This 1.1 billion clearly supports
her statement of huge problem. Here's another way to support
that same statement, but this time focusing on
the idea of clean water. The student says, well according to the
lecture, half of the world's hospital beds are filled with people suffering
from a water-related disease. By using this fact, she makes it clear what happens when
there isn't access to clean water. There are two important things
to remember when using facts and statistics in your discussion. First they must be accurate. That is you just can't make guesses or
invent numbers for example like 99% of people of
people there don't have water. If you don't know its 99%, don't make up the numbers,
the information needs to be true. Second, make sure your facts and
statistics are relevant. Make sure your information is current and
applicable to the situation. For example,
in a discussion about global water issues, information from 2003
may already be too old. And data from just the US may be
too narrow to provide good support. Another kind of example that you can use
to support your ideas Is the anecdote. An anecdote is a brief story
that illustrates your ideas. Anecdotes are very useful because they
help listeners connect to your ideas. People easily understand information
when it comes in the form of a story. Let's look at how you can use anecdote
in a discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of social media sites. A student says one advantage is
that we can get in touch and keep in touch with people easily. She supports this idea with anecdote. She says that she has family all over the
country, she posts pictures and messages to her family all the time and it makes
her feel like they aren't so far away. Then, the same student
thinks of a disadvantage. She says, you can't always control
who sees your online data. To illustrate, she tells about a friend
of hers who went to a crazy party and then posted a bunch of pictures of it for
her friends to see. A few weeks later, that friend went to a job interview for
public relations position. She though it won’t great but when they called her they had done
an Internet search of her name. And they had seen those party pictures. They want sure that, that was the face
they want to representing their company. This anecdote not only supports the
student’s idea but it’s a memorable one. A third kind of example is the analogy. An analogy is a kind of comparison, but it
isn't like comparing apples and oranges. It's a little more involved in that. Here's a simple example. If we are trying to emphasize how badly
a company is doing after they lose their CEO, we may say that the company is
like a boat at sea without a captain. Analogies are used to
show the similarities and relationships between two
different situations. They are helpful to make information
easier to understand and to make an idea easier to visualize. In this analogy, we understand that the company is without
direction and perhaps in trouble. Let's look at an analogy and
a discussion about population growth. One student says, rapid population growth is a problem
because it puts a strain on resources. Another student says, well,
actually the Earth has a lot of space and a lot of resources. To clarify his idea the first
student uses an analogy. He says, the strain on resources comes
from the infrastructure we have in place to access them. Look at it like this, you have a stadium
that's designed for 10,000 people and it's got lots of space, but then all
the sudden you have 20,000 people in it. Sure it's crowded, but
that may not be the problem. The stadium wasn't designed for
that many people. There aren't enough places to get food and
drink, there aren't enough restrooms, there aren't enough emergency exits for
that many people. In time we could expand the stadium
to adapt, but when we don't plan for that many people,
it's a big problem and even dangerous. That's what I mean about rapid
population growth and resources. This analogy shows the similarities
between the two situations, and helps to understand
the point he is making. Finally, let's look at hypotheticals as a
kind of supporting example you can use in your discussion. These are what if scenarios. They are very useful for getting people to
imagine the possible effects of an action. They are fictional situations that we
introduce with phrases like, what if, suppose that, and let's say. Let's look at a hypothetical and a discussion about
genetically modified foods. One student says she doesn't like the idea
of GMOs personally, but she also says I think it's a really bad idea to completely
ban genetically modified foods. Her classmate doesn't understand because
she just said she didn't like them. So, she uses a hypothetical to clarify. She says, well,
let's suppose we're growing crops, but then there is some terrible new disease, or a swarm of insects that
completely kills that type of crop. Maybe we would need
the science of GMOs to create a crop that would survive
in the new conditions. What if we need GMOs to adapt? This example hasn't happened, but
it gets everybody thinking about what could happen, and that's what
a good hypothetical example does. There are many kinds of examples
that you can use to support and clarify your ideas in a discussion. This lesson has given just a few
ideas about how you can use facts and statistics, anecdotes, analogies, and
hypotheticals to support your ideas. Remember, the important thing is
that you do support your ideas so that there is substance to what
you contribute to the discussion.

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