I need a more specific word than illogical.

Say an educational psychologist collected some data about someone by having two people fill out a questionnaire that is a well known, reputable, published, normed instrument. The two questionnaires yielded totally different results, and then the psychologist "resolved" the "discrepancy" by conveniently throwing out the questionnaire that didn't support the conclusion he wanted to draw.

I think we don't say his conclusion is fallacious. I think we can say it is illogical. Is there a more specific, apt word for this situation? A single word if possible.

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    The scientist and his conclusion are biased. Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 10:06
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    I added biased too as an answer; probably I was editing my answer while you were editing your comment. Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 10:12
  • I think it's a phrase: Unsupported by evidence.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 12:36
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    If valid data is selectively chosen, the pracitice is dishonest. Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:50
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    Throwing one of two tests (or fifty of one hundred tests) out of a study because they yield data incompatible with the researcher' favored result amounts to willfully skewing the research results. I would refer to the conclusions drawn from such a selectively gathered data set as doctored, artificially cultivated, or groomed, because the data set is nonreproducible under scientific conditions.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 16:35

10 Answers 10


It is biased and also subjective.


biased adjective

: having or showing a bias : having or showing an unfair tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others

subjective adjective

: based on feelings or opinions rather than facts

  • I think I'm going to go with cognitive bias. Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 15:50

The researcher's conclusion is invalid.

invalid (adjective)

not valid, in particular. (especially of an argument, statement, or theory) not true because based on erroneous information or unsound reasoning.

You can also say that the researcher's conclusion is unsound.

unsound (adjective)

not based on sound or reliable evidence or reasoning.


I propose misrepresentative.

Because the researcher was biased, he falsified1 his data to match his expected outcome-- the conclusions are misrepresentative of the actual data collected.

I think this word has the proper ethical undertones- that the researcher did something purposeful to the data, not just that his inherent biases inadvertently affected the way he interpreted or collected the results.

You might also say the conclusions are not reflective of the true data, but this is more neutral.

1 definition



Not supported or proven by evidence

Source: Oxford Dictionary of English.

  • I added a link to an Oxford Dictionary that presents the definition you quote in your question. Please cite the source of any quotation you use in future answers.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 15:51
  • Welcome to EL&U! As Sven has said, add references to your answers to improve their quality, no one likes an unsubstantiated answer! Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 15:57
  • Good one BladorthinTheGrey! Newbie here, I'll keep that in mind next time, thanks!
    – Jim Morgan
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 16:01

The results of the study can be termed as inconclusive.

not leading to a firm conclusion or result; not ending doubt or dispute.

The researcher is being biased, his research lacks objectivity.

  • Ha ha, she drew conclusions all right! But they were hogwash! Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 3:25

"Incongruent" seems like it could be the word for which you're searching.

There is a conclusion but it is not consistent (perhaps "inconsistent" instead) with the line of experimentation.

But the ethical issues of the situation described are paramount and would be what the qualifier should indicate rather than describing why the UNDESIRED conclusion was disgarded.

  • Welcome to EL&U! Could you add some references to back-up your answer and to give it extra clout? Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 15:55
  • You bring out a helpful point in your last paragraph. Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 16:35

Following gstats, I suggest falsified.

M-W to make (something) false : to change (something) in order to make people believe something that is not true

This researcher's results are certainly biased, unsound, misrepresentative, and invalid, but this is all the result of her or his falsified conclusion.

  • I think falsified is when the person makes up the questionnaire responses. Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 3:25

Scientifically bankrupt

I am posting this as it just occurred to me and I would like to get others' reactions to this idea. It is motivated by the phrase "morally bankrupt.*


Selecting data that supports position is often called "cherry picking"


If the researcher is making his selection based on the viewpoint of those sponsoring his research, then you could say he knows which side of his bread is buttered.

Be aware of where one's best interests lie, as in Jerry always helps out his boss; he knows which side of his bread is buttered. This expression alludes to the more favorable, or buttered, side of bread and has been used metaphorically since the early 1500s.

know which side of one's bread is buttered. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Retrieved September 15, 2016 from Dictionary.com website http://www.dictionary.com/browse/know-which-side-of-one-s-bread-is-buttered

  • Why was this voted down? I think this happened in the Regnerus Affair. Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 3:30

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