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Illustrating your essay refers to demonstrating the key element of discussion clearly. This key element is mostly the thesis statement and the demonstration is usually done through the presentation of evidence.
The evidence used in essays may be textual, statistical or visual. Textual evidence is mostly excerpts from documents of the kind; scientific theories, published thesis papers, past event reports, analogies and anecdotes. Statistical evidences include representation of mathematical data in the form of graphs, pie-charts, tabulated data etc. Visual evidence refers to images, graphics, sketches, infographics etc.Despite of varied usage of different types of evidences, unanimously their aim is to develop an easier understanding for the reader.
Textual Illustrations are particularly important when the topic is complicated, with reference to the audience but is relevant to them as well. Thus, illustrations come into use for explaining the subject matter. In such a case a lot of examples are used in the text. However, a smooth transition must be ensured throughout while exemplifying the text.
Use of literary devices makes the illustration more impactful. The use of commonly known proverbs, metaphors, idioms and phrases helps the reader to relate to the subject matter. Imagery is the most powerful literary device that can be used for illustration. It can be simply be understood as visually descriptive language. By the use of imagery, the reader can be made to visualise the point that the writer is trying to make.
Coming to statistical evidence, it is a very useful illustrative tool for both academic and non-academic purposes. Such evidences are sourced from reliable surveys or investigation reports. Some of them are also obtained from self-conducted investigations. Statistics are beneficial as evidences because, many at times results of investigations have numerical values which need analysis. Each numerical value has no significance with relation to the topic by itself. However, when these values under different conditions are compared,they help in understanding of the text. By the use of statistics the message given by these numerical values can be understood by a single glance. Visual evidences are the least used form of evidencefor academic purposes. However, they gains top priority in compositions meant for entertainment and recreation. Where on one hand, imagery makes the reader imagine, visual illustration puts the image right in front of the eyes. Thus, visual evidences are the easiest to understand. However, they have several limitations in their use. They are:
Things and incidents that we observe in daily life are in three dimension. However, visual evidences are limited to two-dimensions. Thus, in some cases visuals cannot acts as appropriate evidnces.
Every incident, object or concept doesn’t necessarily have a visual nor can they be created in a limited time.
Every visual which is available cannot be used for illustration due to unavailable copyrights. In some cases copyright also have to be purchased.
An image used as an evidence may not have been created in the same context, which makes it an ambiguous illustration.
Thus, different forms of illustrations have their own benefits and limitations. Hence, for a good illustrative article usually a combination of two or three of them is used.