Studies Show You Should Never Say “Studies Show”
- “Studies show you can lose weight by eating lots of chocolate!”
- “Studies show that eating lemons can cure cancer“
- “Studies show that people fear public speaking more than death“
- “Studies show that the economy can be fixed by canceling public radio“
Heard any of these? I’m sure you’ve heard similar statements. Yet when you investigate, you’ll discover that the source was not credible, that it was a hoax or a joke, that the research was misinterpreted or misquoted, that the “source” was a friend’s friend’s brother-in-law’s dentist’s aunt, or possibly even that there is no source. Think about it–haven’t you ever heard someone utter the magical statement “studies show” when actually they had no credibility or basis in fact whatsoever?
Nobody is saying that you have to recite a full MLA-style citation verbally. Simply provide some sort of source or detail.
- “According to a recent study by Professor Wagstaff of Huxley College…”
- “According to yesterday’s New York Times…”
- “Professor Carberry stated in a lecture that…”
If nothing else, even if you don’t bother to state your source, make sure you know your source! It’s quite embarrassing to announce a Proven Fact to your audience, then later find out that you were completely mistaken. Once I had a pastor who was passing out copies of an article the exclusively cited from The Onion. The best way to establish your reputation as a respectable and credible speaker is to do your home.
If you don’t have proof, don’t try to use the “fact” as evidence.