Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion. This support may be strong or weak, the strongest type of evidence is that which provides direct proof of the truth of an assertion. At the other extreme is evidence that is consistent with an assertion but does not rule out other, contradictory assertions. In law, rules of evidence govern the types of evidence that are admissible in a legal proceeding, types of legal evidence include testimony, documentary evidence, and physical evidence. The parts of a case which are not in controversy are known, in general. Beyond any facts that are undisputed, a judge or jury is usually tasked with being a trier of fact for the issues of a case. Evidence and rules are used to decide questions of fact that are disputed, Evidence in certain cases must be more compelling than in other situations, which drastically affects the quality and quantity of evidence necessary to decide a case. In philosophy, the study of evidence is tied to epistemology. The burden of proof is the obligation of a party in an argument or dispute to provide sufficient evidence to shift the other partys or a third partys belief from their initial position, the burden of proof must be fulfilled by both establishing confirming evidence and negating oppositional evidence. Conclusions drawn from evidence may be subject to criticism based on a failure to fulfill the burden of proof. Two principal considerations are, On whom does the burden of proof rest, to what degree of certitude must the assertion be supported. The latter question depends on the nature of the point under contention, in a criminal trial in the United States, for example, the prosecution carries the burden of proof since the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Similarly, in most civil procedures, the plaintiff carries the burden of proof, other legal standards of proof include reasonable suspicion, probable cause, prima facie evidence, credible evidence, substantial evidence, and clear and convincing evidence. In a philosophical debate, there is a burden of proof on the party asserting a claim. Each party in a debate will therefore carry the burden of proof for any assertion they make in the argument, although some assertions may be granted by the other party without further evidence. If the debate is set up as a resolution to be supported by one side and refuted by another, in scientific research evidence is accumulated through observations of phenomena that occur in the natural world, or which are created as experiments in a laboratory or other controlled conditions. Scientific evidence usually goes towards supporting or rejecting a hypothesis, one must always remember that the burden of proof is on the person making a contentious claim. Within science, this translates to the burden resting on presenters of a paper and this paper is placed before a panel of judges where the presenter must defend the thesis against all challenges
The balance scales seen in depictions of Lady Justice can be seen as representing the weighing of evidence in a legal proceeding.
An FBI Evidence Response Team gathering evidence by dusting an area for fingerprints