UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Uncertainty and epistemic cultures in the endocrine disruptor expert deliberation Durant, Jack


As with other complex areas of scientific research, the risk assessment of endocrine-disruptors (EDs) involves significant uncertainty. An added complication is preliminary research suggests there are different ‘Epistemic Cultures’ present in the field – groups of scientists that, due to differing experimentation practices, framings, reasoning, and values, have divergent understandings of the problems at hand, and relatedly, different understandings of the uncertainty the field faces. This study aims to (1) take a first step towards ‘mapping’ the different understandings of uncertainty in the field and (2) evaluate if these differences provide further support for the proposed existence of different epistemic cultures in the ED scientific landscape. To do this, a methodology inspired by Parsons and Lavery’s ‘Brokered Dialogue’ is employed, involving conducting uncertainty focused interviews with two scientists understood as being members of different epistemic cultures, and then showing the footage of each interview to the other scientist for response, before repeating the process for a third and final round of comments. The data is then analysed thematically, dialogically and narratively. This research technique reveals a number of interesting similarities and differences between the two participant scientists’ understandings, most notably, a core narrative divergence in what part of the broader system they understand the uncertainty issues as stemming from. By this core divergence, it’s concluded the results broadly support the existence of different epistemic cultures in the ED scientific landscape.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International