Document Detail

Epidemiology and the scientific method.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  7141777     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This article refutes the claim that the field of epidemiology and community health would benefit from the application of the scientific method. It is argued that the methods of physics are not appropriate for other disciplines. When applied to the social sciences, positivism is a conservatizing force, causing theory to become based on a mere description of social phenomenon. Since it cannot lead to a deep understanding of social phenomena, positivism is incapable of revealing ways in which society could be radically changed. Moreover, such theory is far from neutral. Rather, it is formed and influenced by the forms of life experienced and practiced in the society. This is illustrated by an analysis of the origin of modern physics at the time when society was changing from a feudal to capitalist form of organization. It is concluded that advances will be made in epidemiology and community health when this field breaks from its focus on the individual and incorporates class into its analysis. However, given the interconnection between social structure and social theory, resistance to such a radical change can be expected.
A F Chalmers
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  International journal of health services : planning, administration, evaluation     Volume:  12     ISSN:  0020-7314     ISO Abbreviation:  Int J Health Serv     Publication Date:  1982  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1983-01-19     Completed Date:  1983-01-19     Revised Date:  2000-12-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  1305035     Medline TA:  Int J Health Serv     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  659-66     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Epidemiologic Methods*
Public Health*
Social Sciences

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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