MEDLINE References = Artifacts of Scientific Communication = ?

Barbara Ruth Campbell (CAMPBELL@ZODIAC.BITNET)
Sat, 23 Jul 1994 10:13:35 -0400

Several people have raised questions that address what has been
troubling me about the academic tradition of extracting "tenets"
from a multitude of writings about X to summarize in an encyclopedia
like overview. The Medline references (at least 14 percent contain
rather lengthy abstracts of the articles themselves) are for those
of us in information science/sociology of science "units of analysis"
considered as "artifacts of scientific communication". They are
primary sources of materials unless classified as review articles.

So, I have one set of medical laboratory studies, one set of first hand
accounts of ethnographic studies of how the treatment is administered,
and another set that I may classify as:

"Sense-making" - the kinds of epistemiological works that one finds
in all disciplines

Because I'm trying to test a series of theoretical assumptions about
paradigm change and it looks like there is a trend from 1977 on
(based on the graph from the preliminary study) towards integrating
techniques such as acupuncture, massage, tongue diagnosis, pulse
diagnosis, meditation, etc. into Western medicine, I'm trying to
extract those components that are not part of the biomedical tradition
but do seem to be commonly used in the Ayurvedic and Traditional
Chinese system and group them together.

On the other hand, there do seem to be components (I can't think of
too many words to use here) of the rest of non-Western medicine that
are also held in common - use of ritual, one-on-one attention to the
patient, reassurance that something is going to be done and is being
done - not we'll wait and see - some sort of focusing of the patient's
mind on his/her illness and personal Fate, some sort of cosmological
connecting of the patient (this varies but I hope you all know what
I mean). There is also an answer to the "Why me?" which is definitely
not answered in the biomedical tradition. The answer may reflect
very badly on the patient and the patient's ancestors and genetic
inheritance but at least there's an la

I've only gotten through the period 1966-1976/Acupunture and have a
long long way to go but does the effort to extract the above components
seem valid? John McCreery seems to think not but I may be misinterpreting
his comments.

The above is only an excerpt so please don't flame me for not boring
you all to death with the full lists.

Thank you.