Linguistic and Rhetorical Analysis in Interdisciplinary Health Information Research

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SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health

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Visual representations of data (e.g., figures and tables) are critical to the dissemination of scientific research that underlie advances to improve human health. However, the design of these representations may be discipline-specific and could impede the reporting of progress made by interdisciplinary research collaborations. As part of a larger research study, we analyzed the visual representations focused on the field of skeletal muscle regeneration researched by multiple disciplines and focused on biobehavioral nursing research findings. The goals of this case presentation are twofold: (a) to share an experience of using linguistic analysis methods to understand these visual representations and (b) to show how researchers can collaborate outside their primary fields of study. Three practical lessons learned from our research were as follows: (a) incorporate software-driven and manual linguistic analyses into interdisciplinary research, (b) create a rigor and transparency plan for this analysis, and (c) engage in open communication during this collaboration. By following these lessons, interdisciplinary teams researching complex health problems are more likely to overcome the communication challenges inherent in interdisciplinary collaborations and to generate scientifically meritorious and impactful findings for improving human health.


Software; Journals; Teams; Discipline; Skeletal muscle; Visual aids; Collaboration; Linguistic analysis; Data visualization; Discourse analysis


Categorical Data Analysis | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Statistics and Probability



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