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Hasty Generalization

Information Literacy Academic Integrity

Similar to the non sequitur is the hasty generalization. This logical fallacy occurs when a writer draws a conclusion based on too little evidence. In almost any argument, one must provide ample evidence in support of the conclusion. The importance of guarding against hasty generalizations can be seen most clearly in the sciences. For example, a researcher develops a new organic fertilizer and tries it out on a field of strawberries in Oregon. The plants produce record-setting strawberries. The researcher concludes that the fertilizer will work for strawberries everywhere. This is a hasty generalization because the soil and climate conditions in Oregon, combined with the new fertilizer, might have been responsible for the record-setting berries, not the fertilizer alone.