Method as argument: Boundary work in evidence-based medicine

Social Epistemology 22 (4):371 – 388 (2008)
Abstract
In evidence-based medicine (EBM), methodology has become the central means of determining the quality of the evidence base. The “gold standard” method, the randomised, controlled trial (RCT), imbues medical research with an ethos of disinterestedness; yet, as this essay argues, the RCT is itself a rhetorically interested construct essential to medical-professional boundary work. Using the example of debates about methodology in EBM-oriented research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), practices not easily tested by RCTs, I frame the problem of method as a fundamentally rhetorical problem, situated within a boundary drama, and deeply rooted in the discursive practices of science and medicine. The genre of the RCT report, for example, idealises the research process and can tilt the course of arguments about CAM, while the notion of efficacy can function as a rhetorically mobile boundary object that can redefine the very terms of debate. I suggest herein that arguments about method in CAM debates can productively be read, metonymically, as expressions of more general anxieties in medicine about knowledge and evidence, community values, and professional boundaries; as such, these debates can illuminate some of the rhetorical dimensions of EBM
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0269-1728  
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,399
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-02-01

Total downloads

43 ( #39,978 of 1,102,965 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #84,832 of 1,102,965 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.