Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) and Pharmaceuticals: Exploring the ideological function EBM in Medical Training

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology


The project asks: What is the function of EBM within medical training? Little, if any, research has unpacked how medical training creates and sustains pharmaceuticalisation and EBM. This PhD project will fill this gap by empirically examining the systems of knowledge utilized in training, in particular EBM as discursive tool to ensure that corporate backed research is capable of being viewed as a reliable and politically neutral science. The results will have important implications for public health policy, for the design of medical training and provide broader insight into the ideological function of evidence-based decision-making as a paradigm. The research will include a minimum of 30 semi-structured interviews with medical students pooled from Exeter, Plymouth and Bristol Medical Schools. There is also potential to include junior doctors (F1 and F2) in the study population pooled from the South West Region.

The proposed work will be put through the University of Exeter Social Science and International Studies ethics committee. I may also need to gain ethical approval through the NHS. The key ethical issues are consent, anonymity and confidentiality; medical students are not a vulnerable group beyond this. My thesis for the +1 component, (MRes Science and Technology Studies) will explore similar themes and support this work, but exact methods and questions are subject to discussion with my supervisors. Research, in both the +1 and +3 components will not require any overseas research or difficult language training.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000630/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2096231 Studentship ES/P000630/1 01/10/2018 22/12/2022 Courtney Marie Sommer