ABS: Wormell, Bibliomeetric Analysis of the Welfare State as a Research Phenomenon, Parts 1 and 2

Björn Tell bjorn.tell at LUB.LU.SE
Fri Sep 29 09:47:54 EDT 2000

>From: Wormell Irene <IW at db.dk>
>I. Wormell, "Bibliometric Analysis of the Welfare State as a Research
>Phenomenon". Scientometrics, 47(2000)2, pp.203-236 .
>The article is reporting the results  of the first part of an  extensive
>informetric analysis of the Welfare topic, carried out in 1998-99. The aim
>was to analyse  the structure of the  literature of international Welfare
>research, to provide a detailed picture of its basic theoretical and
>empirical concepts and the mutual relations existing between these concepts.
>The approach is novel in that  through the application of quantitative (i.e.
>bibliometric) techniques it tries to reduce subjectivity in  domain analysis
>and in the mapping of the developments and segmentation  in special topical
>The analysis used the technique of co-ordinated online searches in a cluster
>of international bibliographic databases in DIALOG. The relevant theoretical
>and empirical concepts  have been structured in 13 sub-topics which have
>been in detail analysed, in three time intervals.
>Welfare State
>Social indicators
>Patriarchal State
>Altruism (solidarity)
>Social insurance, safety net
>Unemployment benefit
>Keynesian economics
>Public economy
>Communitarism, pluralism, corporatism
>Public service delivery (health, education, children, elderly people)
>Public choice (privatization, licitation, evaluation, innovation in public
>By measuring trends and developments in the number of publications, term
>occurrences, similarity between the subject terms and formation of clusters
>among  the subject segments, the analysis provides a comprehensive review of
>such a  complex research field as the Welfare State is. The study, which
>primary aim is to  improve  the  methodology of quantitative analysis in the
>so called "soft" sciences,  will increase the interest among social
>scientists, scholars of the humanities  and library and information science
>to use databases as analytical tools  and to apply the modern text mining
>techniques for the extraction of knowledge from bibliographic data.
>I. Wormell, "Critical Aspects of the Danish Welfare State -As Revealed by
>Issue Tracking". Scientometrics, 47(20002, pp.237-250.
>This article constitutes the second part of the project entitled
>"Informetric Analysis of the Welfare Topic".
>The study applied and developed the methodology of issue tracking for
>"informetric studies" in the area of social sciences where metric techniques
>have been little used so far. Issue tracking and monitoring of literature
>are known methodologies in the area of science and technology, but due to
>the differences in the scientific communication, quantitative analysis in
>the "soft" sciences requires other techniques and research attitudes.  It
>was aimed to explore these differences and improve the existing
>methodologies by applying them to another type of scientific communication -
>where the topics and their subject representations are often ambiguous,
>therefore, the accurate identification, selection and harmonisation of
>search terms are cornerstones of the analysis.
>The project aims to introduce  and test the possibilities and limits of
>quantitative methods to unearth important past, current and future
>conditions related to the development of the Welfare concept in Denmark.
>This article is focusing on the methodology and does not attempt to provide
>explanations and interpretations of the topics  analysed. In the project
>there have been involved information scientists and a panel of domain
>experts and other specialists. However, the dialogues and consultations with
>the expert panel ensure the inclusion of certain qualitative elements into
>the study.
>Using the issue tracking methodology the 13 selected topics (see above) were
>analysed in periods accross various types of the Danish national databases
>covering information about the research, implementation, press and
>legislation aspects.
>This is a useful methodology for following how a concept (originating from
>an innovation or a new idea) is moving through the path of various
>publication forms e.g.,
>Theoretical research    applied research        techniques and engineering
>        popular press and mass media    legislation
>To provide a realistic and structured form for the study, the expert panel
>suggested to use the following three main points on the present criticism of
>the "Welfare State":
>                        Economic aspects,  Can we afford it?
>                        Legitimacy,  Does the people believe in it and how
>much do they support it?
>                        Functionality,  How does it work?
>Thus, the paper trace the pattern of debate about the three main critical
>issues of the modern Welfare State in Denmark: economic aspects, legitimacy
>and functionality. The approach taken is novel in that it implements and
>tests issue tracking in this area of social sciences, and  tries to reduce
>subjectivity in the analysis of trends influencing social policy and public
>opinion. The study aims to show how the emerging data and text mining
>techniques can be applied to integrate downloaded bibliographic data with
>other types of information in a strategic mix.
>In co-operation with the Institute for Future Studies, Denmark/Sweden, we
>are planning to continue the analyses  of  the information flow between
>research , media and the political system in order  to show the gaps between
>the politicians´ and the population´s  opinion about the Welfare State in
>Denmark. This will be an extensive project where the informetric analyses,
>along with  several other methods, will be used  for mapping the differences
>in the opinion of the Danish people  and the state.
>The final report is published in three volumes:
>Irene Wormell, Informetric Analysis of the Welfare State as a Research
>Phenomenon.Centre for Informetric Studies, Copenhagen, 1999.
>(CIS Report 8).Vol. I. General description and the results of the project.
>77 p.
>Vol. II. Methodology.  28 p.
>Vol III. Resumé. 28 p.
>Centre for Informetric Studies,
>Royal School of Library and Information Science,  Birketinget 6, DK-2300
>Copenhagen, Denmark.
>Tel: +45 32 58 60 66;  Fax:: +45 32 84 02 01
Dear Gretchen,
As I am not at home, I have not access to Gene's e-mail address, so,
please, convey my best greetings to him from his very old friend, Bjorn
Tell, and tell him to still be active as I try to be, going to
the University of León in Nicaragua next month to teach about Internet
resources, such as ISI.
Best wishes
Bjorn Tell

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