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Thread: anecdotal

  1. #1
    Hanka is offline Senior Member
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    Default anecdotal

    Hello,

    could you please tell me what "anecdotal" means in the following context:

    The comments related to the incoherence of the interim report (too anecdotal) and the at random selection of respondents.

    Thank you very much.

    Hanka

  2. #2
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    Default Re: anecdotal

    Suppose I want to prove to you that Germans love mint sauce. I might say, "My wife -- who's German -- tried lamb with mint sauce last week, and she really liked it."

    This is called "anecdotal" evidence. It's nothing but an interesting (or not-so-interesting) story about one particular German.

    What you really need is hard evidence. You need to conduct a study; get 1000 Germans together, make them taste mint sauce and say how they liked it.

    In your sentence, the interim report contained a lot of individual stories about this and that, but not much in the way of real evidence. Instead of saying, "14.8% of respondants said that they were pleasantly surprised by the taste", the report said things like, "One respondant spat the mint sauce out all over her shoe", which doesn't tell you anything useful about the study.

  3. #3
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: anecdotal

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    Suppose I want to prove to you that Germans love mint sauce. I might say, "My wife -- who's German -- tried lamb with mint sauce last week, and she really liked it."

    This is called "anecdotal" evidence. It's nothing but an interesting (or not-so-interesting) story about one particular German.

    What you really need is hard evidence. You need to conduct a study; get 1000 Germans together, make them taste mint sauce and say how they liked it.

    In your sentence, the interim report contained a lot of individual stories about this and that, but not much in the way of real evidence. Instead of saying, "14.8% of respondants said that they were pleasantly surprised by the taste", the report said things like, "One respondant spat the mint sauce out all over her shoe", which doesn't tell you anything useful about the study.
    Well said. This a real problem in alternative medicine fields. Many unsuspecting consumers cannot differentiate between anecdotal evidence and scientific proof. A bunch of testimonials usually adds up to nothing.

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