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Started March 19, 2012 - 01:10 PM


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Need help understanding anecdotal information

I'm writing a research paper and need some help. My professor told us that we should avoid justifying a statement or procedure by using anecdotal information. What information is considered to be anecdotal?

#2 besmith59 Replied March 20, 2012 - 12:16 PM



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The word "anecdotal" comes from "anecdote," which is a story about one's personal experience. Anecdotes are not proven facts. Your professor wants you to use proven facts to support any assertions you make.

#3 Soul Glo Replied March 21, 2012 - 10:39 AM

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I agree with besmith59 about the difference between anecdotes and proven facts. It sounds like the key factor that your professor is looking for would be the ability to document the facts and statistics that you include. For instance, if you are writing a paper about the death penalty, you should use measurable statistics to support your arguments rather than personal stories or subjective claims. Explaining that the death penalty is wrong because your uncle was actually innocent or because your sister heard a story about someone being exonerated after their execution is an example of an anecdotal claim that does not strengthen your argument. However, if you use verifiable information, such as official conviction rates, statistics about appeals or measured facts about recidivism, these would be valid pieces of information to include because they do not depend on readers to trust you.

#4 yatri Replied April 06, 2012 - 05:49 AM


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Any research paper is a document that is an analytical and serious dissertation on a specific topic. The argument or opinion needs to be buttressed by factual evidence, something that is true and acceptable and not mere conjecture or personal viewpoint. Anecdotal evidence or information cannot be used to justify or support a statement in a research paper, as it is purely subjective and cannot be considered factual.

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