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I am looking for a word which describes results or conclusions which don't inspire confidence because they were reached using poor quality data or a faulty procedure. The feeling I am trying to convey is something that can't be trusted or relied on to be correct.

If the data is of poor quality, the conclusions reached by the study might be inaccurate, misleading, or [insert word here].

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  • Why, please? Why not go with "If the data is of poor quality, the conclusions might be inaccurate or misleading…"? (BTW, can you explain what useful meaning is added "… the conclusions (reached)…" through "… by the study"?) Commented Oct 24, 2021 at 19:20

4 Answers 4

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"If the data is of poor quality, the conclusions reached by the study might be inaccurate, misleading, or [insert word here]"

The possible choices are: i) untrustworthy ii) unreliable iii) unreproducible iv) biased v) erroneous vi) weak vii) unrealistic viii) flawed ix) unstable (for models based on the data)

Some of these words are taken from the following articles:

1 ) "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False"

http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

2) "Erroneous laboratory results: what clinicians need to know" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17882852

3) "Missing, Biased, and Unrepresentative: The Quantitative Analysis of Multisource Biographical Data"

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01615440209601206

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  • You gave me some good suggestions. I think unreliable is the closest word to the feeling I want to express.
    – ma8
    Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 0:09
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I think your example sentence might be a bit messed up.

I am looking for a word which describes results or conclusions which don't inspire confidence.

Then you give the example sentence:

If the data is of poor quality, the conclusions reached by the study might be inaccurate, misleading, or [insert word here].

The [insert word here] will modify the "conclusions reached by the study", not the data or results.

The data or results, if it doesn't inspire confidence or make you hesitant to place faith in it, you might call it:

unconvincing
not seeming true or real; not making you believe that something is true
Oxford Living Dictionaries

or maybe "untrustworthy", but really that's very similar to "unreliable", which you already have.

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  • I want to modify the results/conclusions of the study, not poor quality data. It is the results/conclusions which don’t inspire confidence because the researchers used poor quality data. When the researchers conducted the study, they assumed the data was of acceptable quality. I would use unconvincing to describe the study, but not the results or conclusions.
    – ma8
    Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 0:07
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DUBIOUS

2b: questionable or suspect as to true nature or quality

Example: "the practice is of dubious legality"

Example: "He made the highly dubious claim that Elvis is still alive and living in Hawaii."

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dubious

Other synonyms include

debatable, disputable, doubtable, doubtful, dubitable, equivocal, fishy, problematic (also problematical), queer, questionable, shady, shaky, suspect, suspicious

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  • Dubious is a good option, but it is perhaps too strong a word for the circumstances. Suspect and unreliable are the closest to the feeling I am trying to convey.
    – ma8
    Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 1:16
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If the data is of poor quality, the conclusions reached by the study might be inaccurate, misleading, and uncertain. TFD uncertain

  1. Not known or established; questionable:
  2. Not determined; undecided: uncertain plans.
  3. Not having sure knowledge:

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