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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 94-98

Aleatory and epistemic uncertainties can completely derail medical research results

Department of Clinical Research, Max Healthcare Institute, Saket, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
A Indrayan
Department of Clinical Research, Max Healthcare Institute, Saket, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_585_19

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Aleatory uncertainties are generated by intrinsic factors such as studying a sample rather than the whole population and the source of epistemic uncertainties is extraneous such as limitations of knowledge. These uncertainties inflict all the findings in empirical medical research, but they are rarely appreciated. This article highlights these uncertainties and shows with the help of an example how apparently valid and reliable findings can completely derail due to these uncertainties. We conclude that aleatory and epistemic uncertainties should get due consideration while drawing conclusions and before the results are put into practice. Methods to reduce their impact on results are also presented.


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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow