Four college aged women dressed in 1920's gym clothing and holding various sporting equipment.

Source: 1920s Women’s Athletes, UT Ephemera Collection,

To write a persuasive essay using arguments, you must have data, facts, or ideas to back up your claims. In this lesson, you can practice finding specific types of sources and learn the questions to ask when evaluating information for a persuasive essay.

Much has changed in the world of women’s sports. The same can be said for how we collect information for writing a persuasive essay. Look at the women wearing 1920's exercise clothing in the picture to the right and think about the advances in women’s sports fashion.

photo of a long row of shelves full of books in a library

Source: I’m ready for the floor…, paralela, Flickr

Now think about how we collected information twenty years ago; we went to the library and searched a card catalog for books that might contain the facts and statistics we needed to support our essays. Although you might still go to the library, you can now do searches using the Internet and many subject-specific databases. You might even be able to Google the information you need from a home or school computer.

Your first task in this lesson will be to figure out what sources you need for a persuasive essay about women in sports and where you can find the best possible ones. When you collect data, facts, and ideas to support your position, it’s helpful to use a checklist or ask yourself questions so that you collect credible, valid, and reliable information for an essay. Remember the following:

The better your sources, the better the evidence; the better the evidence, the better
the argument; the better the argument, the better the essay!