Anecdotes, testimonials and personal studies

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  • Format Websites
  • Language/s English
  • Target Audience Self-directed learning
  • EBM Stage 3 - Appraising evidence
  • Duration <5 mins
  • Difficulty Introductory

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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