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Semmelweis’s methodology from the modern stand-point: intervention studies and causal ontology

Persson, Johannes LU (2009) In Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 40(3). p.204-209
Abstract
Semmelweis’s work predates the discovery of the power of randomization in medicine by almost a century. Although Semmelweis would not have consciously used a randomized controlled trial (RCT), some features of his material—the allocation of patients to the first and second clinics—did involve what was in fact a randomization, though this was not realised at the time. This article begins by explaining why Semmelweis’s methodology, nevertheless, did not amount to the use of a RCT. It then shows why it is descriptively and normatively interesting to compare what he did with the modern approach using RCTs. The argumentation centres on causal inferences and the contrast between Semmelweis’s causal concept and that deployed by many advocates of... (More)
Semmelweis’s work predates the discovery of the power of randomization in medicine by almost a century. Although Semmelweis would not have consciously used a randomized controlled trial (RCT), some features of his material—the allocation of patients to the first and second clinics—did involve what was in fact a randomization, though this was not realised at the time. This article begins by explaining why Semmelweis’s methodology, nevertheless, did not amount to the use of a RCT. It then shows why it is descriptively and normatively interesting to compare what he did with the modern approach using RCTs. The argumentation centres on causal inferences and the contrast between Semmelweis’s causal concept and that deployed by many advocates of RCTs. It is argued that Semmelweis’s approach has implications for matters of explanation and medical practice. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
intervention study, randomized controlled trial, internal validity, external validity, cause, Semmelweis, ontology
in
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
volume
40
issue
3
pages
204 - 209
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:69249221218
ISSN
1369-8486
DOI
10.1016/j.shpsc.2009.06.003
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d90773aa-340b-4bbd-8ccb-7872d88515e9 (old id 1364622)
date added to LUP
2009-03-26 09:07:36
date last changed
2017-01-01 05:00:40
@article{d90773aa-340b-4bbd-8ccb-7872d88515e9,
  abstract     = {Semmelweis’s work predates the discovery of the power of randomization in medicine by almost a century. Although Semmelweis would not have consciously used a randomized controlled trial (RCT), some features of his material—the allocation of patients to the first and second clinics—did involve what was in fact a randomization, though this was not realised at the time. This article begins by explaining why Semmelweis’s methodology, nevertheless, did not amount to the use of a RCT. It then shows why it is descriptively and normatively interesting to compare what he did with the modern approach using RCTs. The argumentation centres on causal inferences and the contrast between Semmelweis’s causal concept and that deployed by many advocates of RCTs. It is argued that Semmelweis’s approach has implications for matters of explanation and medical practice.},
  author       = {Persson, Johannes},
  issn         = {1369-8486},
  keyword      = {intervention study,randomized controlled trial,internal validity,external validity,cause,Semmelweis,ontology},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {204--209},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences},
  title        = {Semmelweis’s methodology from the modern stand-point: intervention studies and causal ontology},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsc.2009.06.003},
  volume       = {40},
  year         = {2009},
}