Boundary-Work in the Health Research Field: Biomedical and Clinician Scientists' Perceptions of Social Science Research [Book Review]

Minerva 47 (2):171-194 (2009)
Funding agencies in Canada are attempting to break down the organizational boundaries between disciplines to promote interdisciplinary research and foster the integration of the social sciences into the health research field. This paper explores the extent to which biomedical and clinician scientists’ perceptions of social science research operate as a cultural boundary to the inclusion of social scientists into this field. Results indicated that cultural boundaries may impede social scientists’ entry into the health research field through three modalities: (1) biomedical and clinician scientists’ unfavourable and ambivalent posture towards social science research; (2) their opposition to a resource increase for the social sciences; and (3) clinician scientists procedural assessment criteria for social science. The paper also discusses the merits and limitations of Tom Gieryn’s concept of boundary-work for studying social dynamics within the field of science.
Keywords Boundary-work  Culture  Health research  Interdisciplinary research  Scientific field  Symbolic boundary
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DOI 10.1007/s11024-009-9120-8
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