Anecdotes, testimonials and personal studies

Format: Websites
Language/s: English
Resource Link: Visit the Website
Short Description:

‘Ask for Evidence’ warning that anecdotes are not a trustworthy basis for inferring treatment effects.

Key Concepts addressed:


Journalists often use anecdotes or personal stories to make their stories seem more relevant to people’s lives or emphasise why a piece of scientific research matters. They are usually presented as case studies of individuals’ experiences, which may not include any facts or figures.

Often, a personal story won’t be based on any credible scientific research at all. For instance, a website that sells a cure for cancer that uses magnets might include stories of people claiming they’ve benefitted from it, even though no human study of “magnet therapy” has ever been done.

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