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The Making of Valid Data: People and Machines in Genetic Research Practice
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2280-6825
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Skapandet av giltiga data : Människor och maskiner i genetiska forskningspraktiker (Swedish)
Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingen undersöker ett centralt steg inom vetenskapliga praktiker: hur laboratorieprov översätts till data som anses giltiga och användbara av forskargemenskapen. Baserat på ett multilokalt fältarbete bestående av observationer och intervjuer i laboratorier för genetisk forskning, visas i avhandlingen hur laboratoriepersonalens yrkesskicklighet, samt normer och ideal om vetenskaplig forskning, formade deras praktiker av att producera giltiga data. Eftersom maskiner var väsentliga i forskningen undersöker avhandlingen också de former av agens som människor och maskiner ansågs bidra med till produktionen av giltiga data; giltighet tolkades som reproducerbarhet av forskarna.

Med hjälp av representationsbegreppet och Latours begrepp om inskriptioner och immutable mobiles analyserar avhandlingen arbetet med att förvandla laboratorieprov till giltiga data som en tvåstegsprocess. Proven omvandlades först till rådata som sedan tolkades till data. Personalens huvudsakliga ansträngningar fokuserade i det första steget på att uppnå säkra resultat genom att bekämpa osäkerhet i material och metoder. I det andra steget var det viktigaste att eliminera subjektivitet och att göra objektiva tolkningar av rådatan.

Laboratoriepersonalens yrkesskicklighet och användning av maskiner var viktiga verktyg för att eliminiera osäkerhet och subjektivitet. Säkra och objektiva resultat, dvs giltiga data, förväntades uppnås med hjälp av maskiner. Med användning av bl a Barad’s begrepp agential realism analyserar avhandlingen de olika förståelser av människor och maskiner som formade forskarnas praktiker och möjliggjorde skapandet av giltiga data.

Abstract [en]

This dissertation explores a central step in scientific practices: how samples are turned into data that is considered valid and useful by the research community. Based on multi-sited fieldwork, with observations and interviews at laboratories involved in genetic research, the study focuses on how the laboratory staff’s professional skill, norms, and ideals of scientific research formed their practices of making valid data. As machines were essential for this research, the study also investigates the forms of agency that humans and machines were seen as contributing to the making of valid data; validity being interpreted as reproducibility by the scientists involved.

Drawing upon notions of representations as well as Latour’s concepts of inscriptions and immutable mobiles, the study analyzes the practices of transforming samples into valid data as a two-step process. The samples were first turned into raw data, which was subsequently interpreted as data. During the first step, the staff’s central concern was to battle uncertainty in materials and procedures and establish certainty of results, whereas in the second step it was of vital importance to eliminate subjectivity and make objective interpretations of the raw data.

Central tools for eliminating uncertainty and subjectivity were the laboratory staff’s professional skill and the use of machines. Certainty and objectivity of results, i.e. valid data, were expected to occur with the help of machines. Drawing upon e.g. Barad’s framework of agential realism, the study analyzes the various understandings of notions of humanness and machineness which shaped scientists’ practices and made the creation of valid data possible.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2006. , 189 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 361
Keyword [en]
biomedicine, genetic research, laboratory practices, cultural practice, professional skill, uncertainty, valid data, humans – machines, objectivity – subjectivity, ethnography
Keyword [sv]
biomedicin, genetisk forskning, laboratoriepraktiker, kulturell praktik, yrkesskicklighet, osäkerhet, giltiga data, människor – maskiner, objektivitet – subjektivitet, etnografi
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-7260ISBN: 91-85523-38-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-7260DiVA: diva2:22294
Public defence
2006-09-22, Elysion, Hus T, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-09-01 Created: 2006-09-01 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved

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Kruse, Corinna

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