The use of non-human primates in biomedical research: addressing the replacement impasse through the social dynamics of science

Hudson-Shore, Michelle (2015) The use of non-human primates in biomedical research: addressing the replacement impasse through the social dynamics of science. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Non-human primate experimentation provokes passionate and opposing exchanges, particularly in the UK. This disagreement contributes to an impasse which in turn has prevented the exploration of the important question, if and how primate research could be ended. This project aims to support the examination of this question of impasse presenting data on how it might be overcome by providing a novel and challenging perspective using a multi-method approach, and insights from science and technology studies, to better understand the animal research controversy.

The project primarily draws on data from face-to-face semi-structured interviews with primate users and with scientists who do not use primates across two areas of research, namely schistosomiasis and Parkinson’s disease. This multiple-case study method was combined with a documentary analysis of primate reports produced by key stakeholders. The dataset was then analysed using a semi-inductive, thematic approach to identify how aspects of the social dynamics of science can help to explain the different viewpoints provided by participants. The analysis showed that issues of (i) competition and reputation, (ii) expectations, core sets and publications, (iii) entrenchment and policy, and (iv) ethics and speciesism are centrally relevant to a better understanding of the apparent stalemate in replacing primate experiments.

The key finding is therefore that the social dynamics of science play a critical role in explaining why the primate impasse persists, and can also help to understand how to overcome it. Constructive recommendations to achieve progress are made, focussing on improved collaboration and communication, increasing flexibility and explicit examination of the ethical considerations. The thesis also draws conclusions on how best to ensure the necessary involvement of key stakeholders. Recommendations from this project also have wider implications for scientific practice particularly for those involved in alternatives to animal research, and for the field of science communication.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Hobson-West, P.
Kendall, D.A.
Keywords: Primate, Qualitative methods, Case study, Recommendations, Social dynamics of science, Scientific controversy
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
Item ID: 30638
Depositing User: Hudson - Shore, Michelle
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2015 11:55
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 15:13

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