Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.631962
Title: Ideas in science : an ethnographic study
Author: Buchalter, E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 3879
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Abstract:
This thesis investigates ideas in science. Ideas are explored as an analytical category and examined as an indigenous concept to scientists. This study identifies ideas in science as thoughts or plans, and seeks to understand the main characteristics of ideas as well as explore what factors affect the extent to which they can develop in a laboratory environment. This ethnographic study is based on fifteen months of participant observation in biomedicine laboratories at one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. The resulting data is evaluated using Actor-Network Theory (ANT) in order to demonstrate how ideas are dynamic and best thought of as networks that are acted upon by scientists’ beliefs (Chapter 5), experimentation (Chapter 6), discussions (Chapter 7) and the institutional settings within which science takes place (Chapter 8). This thesis argues that understanding what ideas in science are, and what factors shape and influence them, is a vital part of recognising and appreciating what it means for scientists to ‘do’ science. This study demonstrates the dynamism of ideas in science by explaining how: scientists’ use of the word ‘belief’ acts on how ideas develop; experimentation justifies idea developments and scientists’ discussions facilitate the sharing and connection of ideas. Chapter 8 places the dynamic ways that ideas develop (explained in Chapters 5, 6 and 7) within what is shown to be a stifling institutional context that values ideas as static objects (for example, as delivered and communicated in publications or funding proposals). This friction, it is argued, forces ideas to become institutionally ‘frozen’ and incentivises incremental shifts in thinking.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.631962  DOI: Not available
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