Anecdotal evidence  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Anecdotal evidence is evidence from anecdotes: evidence collected in a casual or informal manner and relying heavily or entirely on personal testimony.

The term is sometimes used in a legal context to describe certain kinds of testimony which are uncorroborated by objective, independent evidence such as notarized documentation, photographs, audio-visual recordings, etc.

When used in advertising or promotion of a product, service, or idea, anecdotal reports are often called a testimonial, which are highly regulated or banned in some jurisdictions.

When compared to other types of evidence, anecdotal evidence is generally regarded as limited in value due to a number of potential weaknesses, but may be considered within the scope of scientific method as some anecdotal evidence can be both empirical and verifiable, e.g. in the use of case studies in medicine. Other anecdotal evidence, however, does not qualify as scientific evidence, because its nature prevents it from being investigated by the scientific method. Where only one or a few anecdotes are presented, there is a larger chance that they may be unreliable due to cherry-picked or otherwise non-representative samples of typical cases.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Anecdotal evidence" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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