Cherry picking and dodgy reasoning for beginners

By Gordon Rugg

Why do professional researchers take such a dim view of cherry picking and dodgy reasoning (and what is cherry picking anyway?)

Time for some cartoons…

Confirmation bias and cherry picking Slide1

There are more below.

Argument by caring a lotSlide2

Using an incomplete toolkit (1) Slide3

Using an incomplete toolkit (2) Slide4

Naïve postmodernismSlide5

Argument by authoritySlide6

Argument by sexismSlide7


Argument by InternetSlide8

Argument by faith and feelings Slide9

Notes, links and sources

The mention of nightlock berries is indeed an allusion to Hunger Games, if you’re wondering.

The “has a beard” line is a tribute to this brilliant clip: A Mom Talks with the Director of Special Education.

The phrase “naïve postmodernism” is to make the implicit point that postmodernism can give useful insights, if used appropriately.

You’re welcome to use the Hyde & Rugg cartoons above for any non-commercial purpose, including lectures, provided that you retain the “copyleft Hyde & Rugg” attribution within the cartoon. I’ve deliberately not included titles within the cartoons, so that anyone re-using the cartoons can use their own titles for them.

There’s more about reasoning and research methods in The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research, by myself and Marian Petre.

The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research, 2nd edition (Marian Petre & Gordon Rugg)

There’s more about the theory behind this article in my latest book:

Blind Spot, by Gordon Rugg with Joseph D’Agnese




8 thoughts on “Cherry picking and dodgy reasoning for beginners

  1. Pingback: Are writing skills transferable? | hyde and rugg

  2. Pingback: Logic, evidence, and evidence-based approaches | hyde and rugg

  3. Pingback: 150 posts and counting | hyde and rugg

  4. Pingback: Finding the right references, part 3: Breadth, depth and the T model | hyde and rugg

  5. Pingback: Seasonal humour: Getting that special paper published | hyde and rugg

  6. Pingback: The Knowledge Modelling Book | hyde and rugg

  7. Pingback: Mental models, and making sense of crazy uncles | hyde and rugg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.