(an.ik.DAY.tuh; an.ik.DAT.uh)
Anecdotal evidence used as data in an attempt to prove a hypothesis or make a forecast. Also: anec-data.
Example Citations:
So deep was Rose's conviction that she made a pilgrimage to the University of Washington to tell her story to Elizabeth Loftus, professor of psychology and world-renowned expert on the workings of memory.
Rose knew of Loftus; she had seen her on television and heard her speak at a mental-disorders conference. What Loftus had said about so-called "repressed" memories made her angry. So Rose called Loftus, set up this visit to her office, and, for this story, asked that her real name not be used.
Loftus jotted notes while Rose talked: 5 to 10 no memory; age 10 remember most everything; F abused her while v sick, tonsils, 4-5 years old. The term Loftus uses for information like this is "anecdata."
— Kit Boss, "Into the past imperfect," The Seattle Times, September 25, 1994
But some social scientists who make a study of criminal behavior reject what Richard J. Gelles, director of the Family Violence Research program at the University of Rhode Island calls the "anecdata" of women's advocates. "The trouble is the real scientific data doesn't bear out the anecdotes," said Gelles.
— William Hamilton, "Crimes of Passion Spark Intense Debate," The Washington Post, August 14, 1994
Earliest Citation:
PAUL SOLMAN: You actually come to this place to find evidence for your forecast?
DAVID WYSS: Yeah, I actually do. I come to the Burlington Mall, especially like at Christmastime, just to see how many people are shopping. Is there a recovery in consumer spending, or are the stores empty?
MR. SOLMAN: This store is empty.
DAVID WYSS: This store is empty, no question.
MR. SOLMAN: A handful of stores, just one mall, not what you'd call a statistically significant sample. In fact, the most recent government report was that retail sales rose in January, which just goes to show why the journalist's approach to reality, what you might call "anecdata," may be the flimsiest form of forecasting.
— "Guessing Game," The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, March 6, 1992
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