The Most Reliable Evidence: A Comprehensive Ranking

Choose the evidence you think is the most reliable!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 16, 2024 07:48
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion truly matters! We've crafted an exciting and thought-provoking ranking that's sure to pique your interest - "What is the most reliable evidence?" Dive deep into the realms of science, law, and philosophy as you explore and vote for the evidence types that you believe are the most trustworthy and compelling. Have a strong opinion on the reliability of DNA testing, eyewitness accounts, or perhaps statistical data? Don't hesitate to make your voice heard and even suggest a missing option if you think we've overlooked an important source of evidence. Join thousands of like-minded thinkers on StrawPoll today and contribute to a fascinating discussion that could help shape the way we perceive and trust evidence in our ever-evolving world. Happy voting!

What Is the Most Reliable Evidence?

  1. 1
    Scientific evidence involves systematic observation, measurement, and experimentation to support or refute a hypothesis. It is considered the most reliable evidence as it follows a rigorous process of verification and peer-review.
    Scientific evidence is an essential component of the scientific method, which involves the collection and interpretation of data to support or refute a hypothesis or research question. It aims to provide objective and reliable information to advance knowledge and make informed decisions. Scientific evidence undergoes rigorous testing and scrutiny to ensure reliability and reproducibility.
    • Empirical: Scientific evidence is based on empirical observations and measurements obtained through systematic experimentation or observation.
    • Peer review: Scientific evidence is subject to peer review, wherein experts evaluate the research methods, data, and conclusions to ensure validity and accuracy.
    • Replication: Scientific evidence should be replicable, meaning that other researchers should be able to reproduce the results using the same methods and data.
    • Quantifiable: Scientific evidence provides quantifiable data that can be statistically analyzed to determine the significance and reliability of the findings.
    • Objectivity: Scientific evidence is impartial and free from personal biases or subjective interpretations. It relies on logical reasoning and critical thinking.
  2. 2
    Expert testimony is the evidence presented by a qualified professional in a specific field. It is considered reliable as it is based on the expert's experience, knowledge, and research on the subject matter.
    Expert testimony is a type of evidence that involves the statement or opinion provided by a recognized authority or expert in a particular field. It is often used in legal proceedings or academic research to support or challenge a specific claim or argument.
    • Qualifications: The expert must possess relevant knowledge, skills, and experience in the field.
    • Credibility: The expert's reputation and expertise should be established and acknowledged by peers.
    • Objectivity: The expert should provide an unbiased and impartial opinion or analysis.
    • Methodology: The expert should use reliable and respected methodologies in forming their opinion.
    • Credentials: The expert's educational and professional background should be disclosed.
  3. 3
    Documentary evidence is any material that provides proof or support for a claim, such as a contract or a written statement. It is considered reliable as it is tangible and can be verified through proper documentation.
    Documentary evidence refers to any written or recorded material that can be used as proof or support in legal, historical, or research contexts. It is typically considered one of the most reliable forms of evidence due to its objective nature and ability to provide detailed information.
    • Objectivity: Documentary evidence is typically created from a neutral standpoint and is not subject to personal bias.
    • Authenticity: It provides a tangible record of events, transactions, or information, which can be verified for accuracy and legitimacy.
    • Date and Time: Documentary evidence often includes details about dates, times, and chronology, aiding in establishing a timeline or sequence.
    • Originality: The original documentary evidence holds the highest value, but trustworthy copies can also be considered reliable.
    • Authorship: Documentary evidence can attribute specific information to an individual or organization, aiding in determining credibility and responsibility.
  4. 4

    Eyewitness testimony

    Eyewitnesses themselves
    Eyewitness testimony is the evidence presented by a witness who observed an event. Although it is not always reliable, it can be considered credible if the witness is deemed reliable and the testimony is consistent with other evidence.
    Eyewitness testimony refers to an account of an event or incident given by someone who has personally witnessed it. It is considered as one of the most reliable forms of evidence in legal proceedings and investigations.
    • Subjectivity: Eyewitness testimony is influenced by an individual's subjective perception and interpretation of events.
    • Accuracy: Eyewitness testimony can be accurate, but it is also subject to errors and inconsistencies.
    • Memory: It relies on an individual's memory of the event, which can be influenced by various factors and can fade over time.
    • Perspective: Eyewitness testimony is based on one person's perspective and may not represent the complete picture.
    • Reliability: Eyewitness testimony has been found to be less reliable than previously thought, with high rates of misidentification and false memories.
  5. 5
    Forensic evidence involves the use of scientific methods to collect and analyze physical evidence, such as DNA or fingerprints. It is considered reliable as it can be objectively evaluated and is not subject to human error or bias.
    Forensic evidence refers to any physical or digital evidence collected and analyzed in a way that is admissible in a court of law. It plays a crucial role in criminal investigations, providing unbiased and scientific evidence to support or refute claims. Forensic evidence can include fingerprints, DNA, ballistics, tool marks, documents, digital evidence, and more.
    • Reliability: Forensic evidence is considered highly reliable when collected, preserved, and analyzed using standardized protocols and methods.
    • Objectivity: Forensic evidence is expected to be objective and free from personal bias, focusing solely on scientific findings.
    • Authentication: Forensic evidence must undergo strict authentication processes to ensure its integrity and validity.
    • Chain of Custody: Forensic evidence requires proper documentation of its chain of custody to establish its continuity, integrity, and prevent tampering.
    • Accuracy: Forensic evidence is expected to provide accurate and precise conclusions based on scientific analysis.
  6. 6
    Statistical evidence involves the use of numerical data and analysis to support or refute a hypothesis. It is considered reliable as it provides a quantitative measure of the probability of an event occurring.
    Statistical evidence refers to the type of evidence that is derived from statistical analysis and data. It involves using various statistical methods to analyze data and draw reliable conclusions or make predictions. Statistical evidence plays a crucial role in many fields, including scientific research, social sciences, economics, and public policy.
    • Objective: Statistical evidence is based on objective data, making it less prone to bias or subjective interpretation.
    • Quantitative: It involves the analysis of quantitative data, such as numerical measurements and observations.
    • Sampling: Statistical evidence often relies on representative sampling techniques to draw reliable conclusions about a larger population.
    • Hypothesis testing: It involves formulating hypotheses and testing their validity using statistical methods.
    • Confidence intervals: Statistical evidence often includes confidence intervals to estimate the range in which a statistical parameter is likely to fall.
  7. 7
    Historical evidence involves the study and analysis of past events and artifacts to support or refute a hypothesis. It is considered reliable as it is based on verifiable sources and can be cross-checked with other sources.
    Historical evidence refers to any remaining artifacts, documents, or testimony from the past that provide insights into historical events, people, and societies. It serves as a foundation for historical research and understanding.
    • Primary Sources: Direct records or firsthand accounts from the time period under study
    • Secondary Sources: Interpretations and analyses based on primary sources
    • Archaeological Discoveries: Material remains and artifacts unearthed through excavation
    • Written Records: Official documents, diaries, letters, manuscripts, inscriptions, and other written sources
    • Oral Traditions: Passing down stories, legends, and myths through generations via word of mouth
  8. 8
    Legal evidence involves the use of documents, testimony, and physical evidence to support or refute a legal claim. It is considered reliable as it is subject to strict rules of evidence and can be verified through proper documentation.
    Legal evidence refers to any type of proof or information that is admissible in a court of law to support or refute a claim. It is crucial in determining the guilt or innocence of a party involved in a legal matter. Legal evidence helps establish facts and can include various forms such as documents, testimony, physical objects, photographs, videos, and expert opinions.
    • Admissibility: The evidence must be relevant, material, and not be excluded by any exclusionary rules.
    • Authenticity: The evidence must be genuine and verified as being what it claims to be.
    • Competency: The evidence must be obtained legally, without coercion or in violation of any rights.
    • Weight: The probative value of the evidence is evaluated, considering its reliability and credibility.
    • Hearsay: Any out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter being asserted is generally considered inadmissible, unless it falls within an exception.
  9. 9
    Empirical evidence involves the observation and measurement of phenomena to support or refute a hypothesis. It is considered reliable as it is based on direct observation and can be replicated through experimentation.
    Empirical evidence refers to the data and information obtained through direct observation, measurement, and experimentation. It involves the systematic collection of observable facts or experiences that can be objectively verified and analyzed to support or refute a particular claim or hypothesis.
    • Observation-based: Empirical evidence relies on direct observation and measurement rather than solely on theoretical or philosophical arguments.
    • Data-driven: It is based on the collection and analysis of measurable data, which can be quantitative or qualitative.
    • Replicable: Empirical evidence should be reproducible by other researchers or scientists following the same procedures and methods.
    • Falsifiability: It aims to test and potentially falsify theories or hypotheses, promoting a scientific approach.
    • Objective: Empirical evidence strives to minimize subjectivity and personal bias by relying on verifiable facts.
  10. 10
    Personal testimony involves the evidence presented by an individual based on their personal experiences. It is considered reliable if the person is deemed credible and the testimony is consistent with other evidence.
    Personal testimony is a form of evidence that relies on the firsthand account of an individual, describing their own personal experiences, observations, or knowledge related to a particular event or topic.
    • Subjectivity: Personal testimony is subjective as it is based on the individual's interpretation and perception of events.
    • Firsthand Experience: The creator of personal testimony has directly witnessed or experienced the events they are testifying about.
    • Authenticity: Personal testimony is considered authentic as it is based on the firsthand account of the individual providing it.
    • Contextual Understanding: The creator of personal testimony provides their understanding and context of the events, which can be valuable in interpreting the evidence.
    • Emotional Impact: Personal testimony often includes emotional expressions, providing insight into the creator's feelings and reactions.

Missing your favorite evidence?


Ranking factors for reliable evidence

  1. Source quality
    The source of the evidence should be credible and trustworthy, such as reputable academic journals, government studies, and peer-reviewed research.
  2. Sample size
    The more participants in a study, the more representative the findings are likely to be.
  3. Methodology
    The study should have a well-designed methodology that is clear and reliable, and includes controls for biases and confounding variables.
  4. Replication
    The evidence should be replicated by independent researchers in different contexts and under different conditions.
  5. Consistency
    The evidence should be consistent with other research in the same field, and not contradict established findings.
  6. Bias reduction
    The study should have taken measures to reduce potential biases, such as double-blind experiments, power analyses, and randomized controlled trials.
  7. Peer review
    The evidence should have undergone rigorous peer review by experts in the field to ensure its quality and validity.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most reliable evidence. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or evidence is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 177 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each evidence once every 24 hours. The rank of each evidence is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most reliable evidence

When it comes to making decisions or forming opinions, relying on evidence is crucial. However, not all evidence is created equal. Some types of evidence are more reliable than others, and it's important to understand the differences between them. In general, the most reliable evidence is empirical evidence, which is based on direct observation or experience. This includes data from experiments, surveys, and other forms of research. Empirical evidence is often considered the gold standard because it is objective and verifiable. Other types of evidence, such as anecdotal evidence or hearsay, are less reliable because they are based on personal stories or secondhand information. While these types of evidence may be compelling, they are not necessarily accurate or representative of the larger picture. Ultimately, the most reliable evidence depends on the situation and the type of decision being made. It's important to consider the source, the method used to gather the evidence, and any potential biases or limitations. By carefully evaluating the evidence at hand, we can make more informed and accurate decisions.

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