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Beyond the numbers: integrating biomedical knowledge and illness narratives

Respiratory Department, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, 1-2pm, 24 February 2016

Paul Mason

on 24 February 2016

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Transcript of Beyond the numbers: integrating biomedical knowledge and illness narratives

We are all qualitative researchers
(We're just not always good at it!)
We are all quantitative researchers
...but are we seduced too much by statistics?
blindspots & biases
...statisticians say mean things...
TB in Vietnam
an ethnographic case study
Thank you
Ian Harper's work in Nepal
The sum of Harper’s observations and reflections are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from claiming that offsetting relational issues, food security, and economic stability with medical programmes equates to the pharmaceuticalization of poverty.
integrating biomedical knowledge and illness narratives
Beyond the numbers
Gottfried Achenwall 1719-1772
- a term of statecraft first coined in 1749 to refer to systematic methods of summarising, in words, a nation's strength, in terms of its natural, economic, military, and human resources.
- the word entered the English language in 1791 and became used in the branch of mathematics concerned with proability and causal inference in the early 20th Century
L'homme moyen
Adolphe Quetelet 1796-1874
Using a mathematical methods from astronomy, Quetelet erroneously argued that the distribution of a population's characteristics served as a guide to its ideal value, one obscured by the imperfect variation of individuals.
once denoted a flag raised on a pole as a rallying point, but the "standhard" has become a metaphor for the values that a group hold up and aspire to and against which a person is measured
Battle Standar
In the 1840s, a carpentry term for upright and perpendicular, the “norm”, became the root for a constellation of words to refer to the common type or standard.
standard deviation
Karl Pearson introduced the term "standard deviation", which, together with Quetelet's work, oriented the scientific measurement of populations towards singular values.
Karl Pearson
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