Evaluating the strength of evidence in research and education: The theory of anchored narratives

Jimmie Leppink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Empirical research based on groups of participants and assessment of the competence of individual students, trainees, and professionals in a given context have at least one thing in common: evidence in favour or against a hypothesis should be established by carefully considering and integrating various pieces of evidence to create a coherent story that has no contradictions, loose ends or missing elements. To provide a coherent framework for this process, this article introduces a modified version of a theory that has been used as a model of legal decision making in criminal cases: the theory of anchored narratives. In this theory, judges in a case judge the quality of pieces of evidence and whether these pieces of evidence can be anchored as narratives to form a chain of evidence that enables a decision beyond reasonable doubt regarding a suspect's guilt. This article provides examples from the domain of medicine to elaborate how a modified version of this theory can provide researchers and educators with a framework in which the assessment of both empirical research and competence is a qualitative professional judgement based on an integration of various sources of qualitative and quantitative information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-290
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Taibah University Medical Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

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