You may be more concerned about under-use and/or non-use of evidence. But the misuse of evidence is not uncommon. There are several ways in which an evidence may be misused. Though the list is not exhaustive, the following are some of the ways that may lead to misuse of evidence.
Misunderstanding: When there is a failure to perceive or conceive evidence correctly, it may be misused. Correct understanding of evidence needs expertise and skills. When these are low on the users’ side, misunderstanding could happen. Besides, if research findings are not reported in simple and understandable manner, this may pave the way for misunderstanding.
Misinterpretation: If people interpret evidence in the wrong way, then it may be misused, used for the wrong purpose. The misinterpretation could be unintentional or intentional. It is possible that both users and researchers could misinterpret research findings. When it happens, the constituent application of evidence could be harmful.
“Over application” – In some cases, evidence may be used, before any adaptation, out of the context it is generated from. This may also lead to wrong application of evidence.Similarly, if evidence from a very small and non-representative sample is inferred to a larger population and if it is used to inform actions in the general population, it may lead to misuse of evidence.
Adulteration: In some cases a good quality evidence may be deliberately adulterated for the wrong purpose. And thus it may be misused to favour or suppress certain interests of individuals or groups.
In conclusion, there are may ways leading to misuse of evidence as there are several ways facilitating the misuse of evidence.