Document Detail

Mere anecdote: evidence and stories in medicine.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21815971     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
In evidence-based medicine, randomized controlled trials are said to be the highest evidence of what works, while anecdotes have low value or are not even considered to be medical evidence. Similar hierarchical views of evidence have infected other disciplines, including evidence-based education and evidence-based government. Here, I explore the artificial divisions of acceptable from unacceptable evidence, numbers from narrative and sciences from humanities. I challenge the deprecation of stories in medicine. Some stories are based on experiments while others are based on more or less plausible theories. Some stories offer vast and impressive statistics gathered from many observations while others present one noteworthy event. Published reports are themselves stories of what experimenters did. Systematic reviewers generate their own observations of collected stories of experiments. Reviewers of systematic reviews in turn report their observations of systematic reviews. All of these stories become evidence of what works in medicine.
Robin Nunn
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-8-4
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of evaluation in clinical practice     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1365-2753     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-8-5     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9609066     Medline TA:  J Eval Clin Pract     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST), Victoria College, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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