You don't need to be signed in to read BMJ Blogs, but you can register here to receive updates about other BMJ products and services via our site.

Vague, unsure or imprecise?

12 Jul, 16 | by Bob Phillips

courseImageTrials and tribulations we all have. The not-knowing of the future can create anxiety, distress and an unhealthy desire for chocolate. Some days, knowing what’s for tea can provide the only concrete grounding in an otherwise fluctuant universe.

And along with that, the naming of things can sometimes be enlightening.

So, for un-knowing, you could consider using the following sorts of words:

Imprecision. The sort of not-knowing that is generated by small sample sizes with wide confidence intervals.Uncertainty in a mathematical sense.

Vagueness. Uncertainty about something because it has been poorly defined or described, the ambiguity of the written “How’re you doing?” – which may differ if from the melting voice of Joey Tribbiani or the concerned and serious tones of your Aunt Ethel.

Volatility. Uncertainty through a potentiality of futures that may be sweepingly different depending on as yet undetermined features … if only we’d had a referendum recently in the UK that might provide an example …

  • Bob Phillips

By submitting your comment you agree to adhere to these terms and conditions
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
ADC blog homeapage

ADC Online

Education, debate, and meandering thoughts on child health, using evidence and research.Visit site



Creative Comms logo

Latest from Archives of Disease in Childhood

Latest from Archives of Disease in Childhood