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SOAN 2112 Lecture Notes - Royal Statistical Society, Bar Chart, Crimean War

Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2112
Linda Hunter

of 6
Florence Nightingale Guest Speaker Lyn McDonald February 25th, 2013
Florence Nightingale: Sociology, Methodology, Theory
Florence Nightingale (1820 1910):
Nightingale as a social scientist
First women fellow, Royal Statistical Society
Pioneer methodologist
Systems thinker
Applied social science, especially for health care.
The cause of the passionate statistician: to save lives
It do this required knowledge of “God‟s laws” the laws of nature
“God governs by His laws, but so do we when we have discovered them. If it were
otherwise, we could not learn from the past for the future” (Essay in Memoriam)
The Nightingale Methodology:
Get the best information available
Use government reports and statistics
Read and interview experts
Of the available information is inadequate collect your own:
Draw up a questionnaire (queries)
Consult experts on it, practitioners who use it.
Nightingale’s Methodology:
Test questions (pre-test) before using
When writing up, consult experts (peer review)
Practitioners who will actually use the data
For application, liaise with users
Application of Research Knowledge:
Laws govern society as well as natural world
L.A.J. Quetelet (Belgian statistician) influence
Quetelet: “The creator of a new science in which observation and calculation are
allied to bring out the immutable laws which govern phenomena apparently the most
accidental of our physical life to our least actions.”
Unintended Consequences:
The role of statistics: “Consecrated blunders in medicine prove the need of statistics”
Statistics must be made otherwise then to prove a preconceived idea”
Quetelet gave examples of infant mortality in founding hospitals
Quetelet on Heath Data:
“Different treatments [have but a] small influence on the death rate.”
Hospital death rates depend “on the way they are kept more than on the treatment
“Administration saves more hospital patients then the best medical science”
(Comments on Physique Sociale).
Knowledge for Application:
Respect for the power of unintended results
New programs must be monitored statistically
Statistics must be kept on a uniform basis so that comparisons can be made
“Hospital Statistics” paper given at the International Statistical Congress, 1860
The Principles Of Workhouse Reform:
A. To insist on the great principle of separating the sick, insane, incurable nd children
from the usual pauper population of the metropolis.
B. To advocate a general metropolitan rate for this purpose and a central administration.
C. To leave the pauper and casual population and the rating for under the boards of
guardians, as at present.
The ABC of Reform
Centralize all the sanitary powers…provide a scheme of suburban hospitals and
1. For sick
2. For inform, aged and invalids
3. For insane and imbeciles
4. Industrial schools for children
Pay for them by a general schools and hospital rate
British Army death rate in Crimean War 22%
U.S. Army death ate in Vietnam 2.3%
Classic „rose‟ or area charts
Division into two, break at arrival of Sanitary Commission (March 1855)
Mortality lower in (later) left chart
Modified area charts
A clock chart, integrating data from the two „rose‟ charts, read like a clock, from
A vertical bar chart, integrating data from the 2 „rose‟ charts
Comparison of French and British Morality by Year
1st year Dead Total Effectives Percent
French 10,934 89,885 11%
British 10, 989 47, 749 23%
2nd year
French 21,191 106,634 20%
British 606 27,384 2.5%
To compare results when “neglect of the laws of nature” and what may expect “from
their observance”