Anecdotal Evidence Assignment

Anecdotal Evidence Assignment

Anecdotal Evidence Assignment

Anecdotal Evidence Assignment


why is understanding the healthcare system at the local level important to consider when planning an EBP implementation? Consider research and solicit anecdotal evidence from your course mentor that you will take into consideration for your own change project


The term anecdotal evidence can be broken up into two distinct halves, both of which are words you are more than likely familiar with. Evidence is proof, in some form or another, offered to defend a belief or a claim. Anecdotes are short stories told to illustrate a point or support a claim. In many cases, anecdotes are presented as being true, representing real people and events.

Today’s topic, anecdotal evidence, can be defined as testimony that something is true, false, related, or unrelated based on isolated examples of someone’s personal experience. Anecdotal evidence is very popular in the advertising world. Every time you see a claim about a product’s effectiveness based on a person’s personal experience, the company is using anecdotal evidence to encourage sales.

There is a big and distinct difference between anecdotal evidence and scientific evidence, or proof based on findings from systematic observation, measurement, and experimentation. While scientific evidence can be independently verified using the scientific method, anecdotal evidence cannot. Anecdotal evidence is often offered when there is an absence of scientific evidence or in an effort to refute scientific evidence.

One problem with anecdotal evidence is when one or more ‘best case’ examples are used to generalize about some larger group of people. Diet products and weight loss programs are a terrific example of companies using anecdotal evidence to their full potential.

For instance, a commercial for a weight loss supplement might show before-and-after pictures of individuals who took the supplement and subsequently lost weight. These commercials are emotionally driven and ONLY use the personal experiences of the individuals who have had extreme success with the supplement. The commercials are implying that what worked for some will work for everyone. However, if you look very closely at the fine print, you will see a disclaimer that states, ‘Results are not typical and will vary from individual to individual.’

It would be reasonable to question whether it was the supplement that caused the weight loss or if there were other factors. Luckily, this is a research question easily tested using the scientific method. Scientific evidence might show that the weight loss pill is indeed effective in most or even all cases, or it might show that other factors – water intake, the amount of exercise undertaken by the consumer, or changes in diet – had a larger influence on the participants’ weight loss results.

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