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I am wondering how anecdotal evidences are qualified. This question arises from the interesting discussion between AliceD and myself here.

I thought that anecdotal evidences are not accepted as the results are not repeatable and verifiable. If the results are repeatable and verifiable then are they considered anecdotal because the data has not been published?

Please explain clearly on what constitutes anecdotal evidence/data.

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The definition of anecdotal is not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research.

I view anecdotal evidence as information based on experiences, hearsay, or old wives tales. That is, it could be right but unless there is a research on it I don't accept it unless I believe the hearsay is plausible. Just because someone gives anecdotal evidence doesn't mean the research doesn't exist though. They are simply answering based on personal belief and/or experience rather than digging through the literature to find it. So anecdotal evidence could be correct or may be misleading it just depends on what information is out there.

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In addition to non-experimentally obtained or non-replicated results, anecdotal evidence applies similarly to scientific experimental results. The same evidence can be considered both anecdotal and well-supported, based on the degree of scrutiny that the evidence has passed.

For example, if I perform a number of experiments in my lab, obtain a preliminary result from the experiments, and then tell you that I had obtained a certain result, the evidence would be considered anecdotal. This is because I could have committed one of several mistakes within the experimental construction, statistical analysis, result interpretation, or many other error sources that plague scientific research.

However, if I perform rigorous statistical analysis on the data, and show that the data is statistically significant and has a large effect size, and the experiment goes through peer review and is published in a journal, this evidence becomes well-supported. This is because the process of peer review checks for these sources of error within the experiment, and is likely to prevent publication if significant errors are present. While peer review is obviously not foolproof, it removes a significant amount of experimental conclusions which are not valid.

Therefore, a citation from a paper that is peer reviewed should be rated as far more valid and provide far stronger backing for an argument than anecdotal evidence.

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I think that anecdotal evidence is not qualified to answer questions. As the name says, it is anecdotal and of uncertain quality which can hardly be proven. It may be correct or contain correct parts, but it is not a way in a scientific community to answer questions. So I would always avoid these and also vote against such answers.

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