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Utility of the McNamara fallacy

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3141 (Published 04 August 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3141
  1. Michael H Basler, consultant1
  1. 1Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow G4 0SF
  1. michael.basler{at}northglasgow.scot.nhs.uk

    The McNamara fallacy is named after Robert McNamara, the US secretary of defence in the 1960s, who was obsessed with quantifying the Vietnam war in a way that has many parallels with medical education today.1 It can be summarised as follows:

    • 1 Measure whatever can be easily measured

    • 2 Disregard that which cannot be measured easily

    • 3 Presume that which cannot be measured easily is not important

    • 4 Presume that which cannot be measured easily does not exist.

    Notes

    Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3141

    Footnotes

    • Competing interests: None declared.

    References