Tag Archives: research

Women’s health ≠ reproductive health

The 1997 text Women’s Health Research: A Medical and Policy Primerheralds women’s health research as a “new discipline” (p. 7), which I find both frightening and fascinating. Some diseases (osteoporosis, various thyroid conditions, affective disorders, just for a few examples) affect women in greater numbers than men, but studies do not reflect this. This is largely because women’s health has historically been conflated with reproductive health—as though the only part of a woman that is different from a man or important at all is her reproductive system. This conflation is both maddening and difficult to advocate against (for fear of diminishing the real importance of women’s reproductive health).

However, Paula Johnson does a decent job:

Click here to view this talk on TED’s page: http://www.ted.com/talks/paula_johnson_his_and_hers_healthcare

Further food for thought: Johnson and Fee (contributors to Women’s Health Research) point out that “Women have been excluded from health research for decades” despite policy statements that attempt to remedy this (p. 3). One reason women have been left out of research studies because of “researchers’ desire for homogeneous study populations … Women’s cyclical hormonal changes were thought to confound research results” (p. 14).

Haseltine, Florence, Lynne Beauregard, & Beverly Jacobson. (1997). Women’s Health Research: A Medical and Policy Primer. Washington, DC: Health International.


Digital Activism & Social Justice

From the Guest Editors of a recent special issue of Harlot:

“As Angela Haas has argued, the concept of digital refers as much to the work of the human hand as it does binary code. Even when digital tools enable activists to collaborate across great distances, the body remains a powerful force in the activist scene. After all, we must remember that the web is not and has not ever been a democratic, egalitarian space; power inequalities of sexuality, race, class, gender, ability, and nation persist—and are often reinforced—in online spaces.”

“[T]he body is one of the most important activist media that we have.”

Read the guest editors’ introduction to the special issue.

Making science less wrong

The National Institutes of Health have recently come out with a statement saying that too many scientific articles relate experiments that are not reproducible. As Forbes puts it, the NIH is now seeking to “make scientific studies less wrong.”

To do this, the NIH is focusing on beefing up the requirements for research design, reviewing/enforcing solid design, paying attention to the history of a project, and emphasizing being able to replicate results. None of these tasks sound ground-breaking to me, but re-focusing is often a smart move. I rather like the NIH’s apparent dedication to community responsibility here, and I hope that some of this attention to research design and history might consider perspectives/designs/ideas that traditional scientific approaches tend to ignore. (Ever read about how patents get granted and to whom? Lots of good stuff there.) Read the whole Nature article here: http://www.nature.com/news/policy-nih-plans-to-enhance-reproducibility-1.14586

Games for Change

This is a link to Arizona State’s TeachOnline site about the 2012 Games for Change Conference. I am especially interested in the James Paul Gee talk on “Big G” games. (Partly because it’s a fascinating study on the “popular” uptake of theory.)

So Many Trajectories for Study …

Some time ago, I talked about assigning a project in my rhetoric class that required students to look at historical figures in the field of rhetoric and to construct some sort of timeline (or anti-timeline, to resist chronological ordering) showing which figures they believe are most important to survey-of-rhetoric type endeavors and what the relationships between those figures are. This came after we read several historiographic pieces (especially focusing on Aspasia), so students were purposefully engaging in historiography in this project.

They came up with some really awesome stuff.   Continue reading

23: Blakeslee/Fleischer Prompts, Ch. 7

Prompt 7 (p. 211): Selecting a Format and Style for Your Write-Up

Given the audience, purpose, and goals for my research and the examples of narrative approaches that I’ve looked, I think that narrative could be an option for this work–but only if I find a participant whose experience is relevant and who is willing to let me focus the case study on him/her. In fact, this narrative-opener style is one that I’m very familiar with. In the field of journalism, we sometimes refer to this as “Wall Street Journal style.” This refers to the type of story that opens with a narrative, gives the hard facts, then closes by coming back to the subject of the narrative (also known as sandwich style). The truth is that I can’t really decide on a format and style for the final article until I’ve collected data and have an idea of what that article’s focus will be.

Prompt 8 (p. 213): Obtaining and Using Feedback

There are two stages at which I generally want feedback. Those are 1) in the early drafting stages, when I need to talk out my ideas and 2) when I have a complete draft done for someone to look at. In any case, I prefer holistic feedback; I see this as more akin to the way a potential reader would formulate critiques. Also, like many writers, I don’t like people (unless they are very close friends) seeing the mess of my work before I can call it a draft.

One of the best ways to receive feedback is as part of a class. The feedback I have received in this class has been quite helpful, and I think that is because of the sustained relationship we’ve developed as fellow students and because of our prolonged exposure to each others’ work. This also eliminates the problem of soliciting feedback. However, I’ve found a way to get feedback outside of class as well, and that is by joining student groups that feature opportunities to get feedback on work in progress. Of course, participation in this sort of group requires that I also do the intellectual and emotional work of supporting and offering feedback to others, which I think is the best form of gratitude I could show.

22: Blakeslee/Fleischer Prompts, Ch. 7

Prompt 5 (p. 206): Thinking About How Authors Position Themselves

Rhetoric Society Quarterly authors seem to position themselves as both rhetoricians and everyday people. By this I mean that they are interested in applying rhetorical theory to issues that involve common interactions. For example, in volume 40 number 1, Stephen Yarbrough takes up the question of why people sometimes “don’t get it.” This is a colloquial term that most native speakers of English understand, yet it’s difficult to articulate what “it” is. In the same issue, William Rodney Herring explores “a widespread crisis in representation, a crisis that seemed to threaten speakers’ ability to communicate” that is often associated with “the presumed decline of civilization” (23). In volume 40 number 2, Michelle Smith takes up how othering happens in relation to the Amana Society and draws conclusions that can apply to the rhetoric used to describe other marginalized groups. And in the third issues of volume 40, Nathan Crick and Joseph Gabriel point out the importance of public opinion in scientific controversies in democratic societies.

Prompt 6 (p. 206): Determining Your Own Authorial Position

Like Ann Blakeslee, I am interested in working with scientific discourse. This means that I will have to be very careful to determine the specific audience for any piece I am writing for publication. Blakeslee says that she publishes in both rhetoric and interdisciplinary journals and “in the latter, she made sure that she situated her work in a broader literature” (198). In other words, straddling two disciplines increases the need to prove one’s credibility to an audience. Remembering always to take the time to prove this ethos will be important given my audience and purpose in the writing I do.