A guide to asking for evidence

How do I ask?

You can email the company, politician, journalist or official body making the claim direct through this site – these days it’s fairly easy to find contact addresses or forms on websites. There are tips to find email addresses below.

If you can't find an email address, you can ask in person or on the phone and still use this site to track what you're doing and share the result.

How do I find the right email address to send my request to?

  • If asking an organisation, try to find media relations or customer support contacts
  • Try an online search for the person or organisation along with the words ‘email address’ or ‘contact’
  • If you can’t find an email address you might be able to phone to ask

What do I ask?

When you Ask for Evidence, ask them about the science behind the claim: What kind of testing has been done (controlled, blinded tests; a clinical trial; lab studies on an ingredient)? What is the mechanism behind the science? Ask about the status of evidence for the claim: Has the research been peer reviewed and published? Has it been replicated?

The answers to these questions should give you a good indication about whether the claims stack up. See the 'Understanding Evidence' section of this site for more tips on what's reliable evidence.

Be polite!

The scientific process is impartial. You might begin a science experiment with a prediction on what will happen, but you don’t let your preconceptions affect the outcome. Neither should you let any misgivings you might have about a claim colour your ‘ask’. You might find there is suitable evidence to back it up so it’s important to let whoever is making the claim have the chance to show you their evidence.

It’s just as important to applaud the good use of evidence as it is to hold those misusing evidence to account. The Ask for Evidence campaign is about improving the expectation of evidence in everyday life – it’s not going to achieve that if people misuse it and make a nuisance of themselves.

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