Insect pest control research : the analysis of historical trends with special reference to scientometric analysis

  • Harry Rothman

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The thesis investigates the value of quantitative analyses for historical studies of science through an examination of research trends in insect pest control, or economic entomology. Reviews are made of quantitative studies of science, and historical studies of pest control. The methodological strengths and weaknesses of bibliometric techniques are examined in a special chapter; techniques examined include productivity studies such as paper counts, and relational techniques such as co-citation and co-word analysis. Insect pest control is described. This includes a discussion of the socio-economic basis of the concept of `pest'; a series of classifications of pest control techniques are provided and analysed with respect to their utility for scientometric studies. The chemical and biological approaches to control are discussed as scientific and technological paradigms. Three case studies of research trends in economic entomology are provided. First a scientometric analysis of samples of chemical control and biological control papers; providing quantitative data on institutional, financial, national, and journal structures associated with pest control research fields. Second, a content analysis of a core journal, the Journal of Economic Entomology, over a period of 1910-1985; this identifies the main research innovations and trends, in particular the changing balance between chemical and biological control. Third, an analysis of historical research trends in insecticide research; this shows the rise, maturity and decline of research of many groups of compounds. These are supplemented by a collection of seven papers on scientometric studies of pest control and quantitative techniques for analysing science.
    Date of Award1987
    Original languageEnglish


    • Insect pest control
    • economic entomology
    • history of science and technology
    • scientometrics
    • insecticides

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