SOAN 2112 Lecture Notes - Long-Term Care, Royal Statistical Society, Crimean War

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Published on 17 Apr 2013
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Monday, February 25, 2013
SOAN 2112 Lecture
Florence Nightingale: Sociology, Methodology, Theory
By Lynn MacDonald, director Collected Works of Florence Nightingale
- First woman in House of Commons?
Florence Nightingale 1820-1910
- Major founder of nursing
- Nightingale as a social scientist
- First woman Fellow, Royal Statistical Society
- Pioneer methodologist
- Systems thinker
- Applied social science, especially for health care
- The cause of the passionate statiscian: to save lives
- To do this requires 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)
- Get the best info available
- Use government reports and stats
- Read and interview experts
oYou need to know what information exists before researching yourself, because
you want to ADD to the information that exists
- If available info is inadequate, collect your own
- Draw up a questionnaire
- Consult experts on it, practitioners who use it
Nightingale’s methodology
- Test questions (pre-test) before using
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- When writing up, consult experts (peer review)
oBefore publishing it
oNo official system of peer review at her time
oShe did it informally
- Practitioners who will actually use the data
- For application, liaise with users
Application of research knowledge
- Laws govern society as well as naural 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”
oThings like marriage rates, suicide rates
These are individual decisions, so how can you calculate it?
You can calculate because proportions are constant from year to year
There can be predictability
Unintended consequences
- The role of statistics “Consecrated blunders in medicine prove the need of statistics”
- “statistics must be made otherwise than to prove a preconceived idea”
- Quetelet gave examples of infant mortality in foundling hospitals
oThese hospitals took in unwanted babies
oThey had high infant mortality
oGood intentions, but bad results
oWe must go by the results
Quetelet on health data
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Document Summary

By lynn macdonald, director collected works of florence nightingale. Applied social science, especially for health care. The cause of the passionate statiscian: to save lives. To do this requires 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) Read and interview experts: you need to know what information exists before researching yourself, because you want to add to the information that exists. If available info is inadequate, collect your own. Consult experts on it, practitioners who use it. When writing up, consult experts (peer review: before publishing it, no official system of peer review at her time, she did it informally. Laws govern society as well as naural world. You can calculate because proportions are constant from year to year.

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