Silos, visualised: The Tribes and Territories of Health Equity Research

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Health Inequalities and Disparities Research (HIDR) is a rare example of a domain where social and natural scientists from multiple disciplines address similar scientific questions. While it is frequently asserted that public health is a multidisciplinary field, no study has systematically documented the blend of disciplines contributing to a public health specialism, and theories from SSK and STS which might illuminate the impact of disciplinary training on research about health have been scarcely applied.

I present early findings from my PhD project, which - using HIDR as a case study - aims to document disciplinary diversity and flesh out theoretical understandings of the ways in which researchers’ training impacts the design, conduct and interpretation of research about health. Via bibliometric analysis (n= 29,212 papers) the field is mapped and eight discrete ‘communities’ detected. Disciplinary diversity is not uniform between communities, or across the field.

Qualitative interviews (n=43) with members of these communities suggests deep unity and disunity across disciplinary boundaries. Researchers express contrasting beliefs about the state of HIDR and science generally, which appear to stem from their original trainings. Tensions anticipated by the STS and SSK literatures are also evident in these data.

This research i) contributes to understandings of factors producing and sustaining academic ‘silos’ within public health ii) acts as a resource for HIDR researchers and funders wishing to diversify or expand their networks, and iii) empirically extends theoretical work asserting the powerful, enduring influence of scientific training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages9
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes
EventBSA Medical Sociology Group Annual Conference 2019 - University of York , York, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Sep 201913 Sep 2019
https://www.britsoc.co.uk/media/25109/medsoc19_abstracts_book.pdf (Abstracts Book)
https://www.britsoc.co.uk/groups/medical-sociology-groups/medical-sociology-medsoc-study-group/events/event-archive/ (Event Archive for British Sociological Association)

Conference

ConferenceBSA Medical Sociology Group Annual Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleBSA MedSoc 2019
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityYork
Period11/09/1913/09/19
Internet address

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