Meta-Analysis, Ideals of Objectivity, and the Reliability of Medical Knowledge
Jukola, S. (2015). Meta-Analysis, Ideals of Objectivity, and the Reliability of Medical Knowledge. Science and Technology Studies, 28 (3), 101-120. Retrieved from http://ojs.tsv.fi/index.php/sts/article/view/55344
Published inScience and Technology Studies
© Jukola & Finnish Society for Science and Technology Studies, 2015.
This paper focuses on the ideals of scientif c objectivity as they emerge in discussions concerning meta-analyses and medical research. Stegenga (2011) has argued that meta-analyses fail to be objective because conducting them involves making judgments. I show that his reasoning is based on the so-called procedural ideal of objectivity, which can be questioned: this ideal is unattainable and does not capture some of the problematic issues of medical research. By introducing a case in research on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, I demonstrate why the so-called social view on objectivity succeeds better in accommodating 1) the way in which scientif c research necessarily involves judgments, 2) the possible risks involved in research, and 3) the inf uence that the institutional context has on research activities. Adopting this ideal of objectivity helps us better appreciate the virtues of meta-analyses and pinpoint which practices threaten the reliability of meta-analyses’ results. ...
PublisherEuropean Association for the Study of Science and Technology; Finnish Society for Science and Technology Studies