Apologies made by Tom for being so elusive for the past couple of months.

Discussed Tom’s work establishing the scientific consensus on climate change; Pat wondered whether it is methodologically sound. Tom to meet Don Hill for advice on the subject, but claimed that as it is a snapshot of the science rather than an exhaustive literature review he felt that it was sufficiently rigorous methodologically.

It was felt that the science section was a little dry. Suggestion was made that after the media section had been completed it could be used to provide some context for the science stuff, explaining why this is such an important topic. The concern that “sexing it up” would detract from its scientific rigour was noted.

Discussed whether the May 24th deadline for MPhil 20,000 words was plausible. Tom felt it was, and it was agreed that the next section, on the media representation of the science, would be prepared for May 1st

AHRC form was discussed; Tom to come in the following day (now done) to sign it. It should by now be on its way.

Next meeting 1st May.


Meeting with Pat, 23.01.07

January 23, 2007

Discussed AHRC funding application form: Pat suggested rewrite to make it more eye-catching, including an introduction stressing the importance of the research – impact of journalism on public opinion, the nature of the three main subjects (MMR, ID, climate change), the nature of balance in reporting, and why print journalism over, say, TV news (less regulation in TV news). Will send Pat rewrite ASAP for her to make further suggestions.

 Training – sign up ASAP for “reviewing existing research”, “using documentary sources”, “elite interviewing” and “appraising research critically”. Await information from KILT about teaching certificate application deadlines for 07/08 academic year. Ethical approval relies on interview training so can’t do interviewing until after approval meeting – probably June (training in April).

Update work plan with deadlines for next meeting.

Write extended version of AHRC application entry on new direction (controversy, balance, science rather than merely medicine etc) to explain thinking behind it.

Start work on methodology section – comparison of academic journals with popular press and so on. Need to find sources for ID/evolution and for climate change – can use BMA, Lancet, JAMA, NEJM for MMR.

Read comments on ethics thing

Continue with philosophy of science

Next meeting 2:30pm 06.02.07

Supervisor meeting, 5.12.06

December 7, 2006

Supervisor meeting, Tuesday 5th December 2006
Present: Tom Chivers, Patricia Walsh
Items discussed:

  • Supervisors’ written comments on ethical theory piece to be posted.
  • Written comments on piece about the importance of medical reporting by journalists to be discussed  at next meeting.
  • Short meeting with second supervisor: Jonathan’s comment that the PhD thesis was in danger of platitude: “Do health journalists have an ethical duty to achieve a certain level of expertise in their topics?”  too obvious a question. The possibility of re-aligning the PhD in response to this so that instead of being about “expertise” in general it could ask whether journalists have a responsibility to be able to read clinical trial reports themselves instead of merely relying on press releases; this would be less platitudinous, as not only do most journalists not read the reports, there is an argument that if they are not trained in reading scientific papers they may misinterpret technical language and take a different meaning away from the report than a trained scientist would. This to be thought about further.li>
  • The questions for John Naish, Times journalist; should we add more? Which other journalists do I want to contact?
  • Requirements of interview training: Roger Mayhew investigating this but has not got back to us yet
  • It was suggested that it would be important to sign up for KILT’s Teaching training, though this is full for this year. To contact them about next year.
  • Homeopathy talk by Ben Goldacre and the networking possibilities it opened up
  • Possibility of tutoring work at the Open University- to investigate
  • Ongoing work on a Philosophy of Science breakdown thing
  • To produce new 6 month plan of work with deadlines

  • Date of next meeting : Tuesday 9th January 2007 at 2.30.
  • Agenda:
  • Report on interview with John Naish, if it happens by then

    Report on interviewing training

    Work on scientific methodology

    To discuss new plan of work