A review of experimental research on the relative persuasiveness

Persuasive texts in which evidence is employed to support claims are more effective than texts without evidence. Text writers may use different types of evidence, such as anecdotal, statistical, causal, and expert evidence. Over the years, a number of experimental studies have investigated the persuasive effectiveness of these evidence types. In these experiments, various definitions and operationalisations of evidence and evidence types have been used. As a consequence, there is no clear picture of which type of evidence is the most persuasive. This review analyses fourteen experiments on the relative persuasiveness of evidence types. Results show that statistical and causal evidence are more persuasive than anecdotal evidence.

  • Hornikx, J. (2005). A review of experimental research on the relative persuasiveness of anecdotal, statistical, causal, and expert evidence. Studies in Communication Sciences, 5 (1) , 205-216. [pdf]

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