Schneider to present research at ECA Fribourg 2017

Posted: June 20, 2017

Assistant Professor Jodi Schneider will discuss her study of biomedical research reports at the 2nd European Conference on Argumentation, ECA Fribourg 2017, on June 20-23 in Fribourg, Switzerland. The theme of the conference is "Argumentation and Inference." She will also speak at the preconference, "Status, Relevance, and Authority of Facts."
Schneider and Sally Jackson, professor of communication at Illinois, are organizing "Innovations in Reasoning and Arguing about Health," a panel that will examine how the complex set of inference practices in the health care profession is changing as people discover better ways to arrive at conclusions about health.

"Inference, or steps in reasoning, is an important part of studying how we make decisions on any topic," said Schneider. "Everyone wants sound reasoning about health—patients, health care providers, public health institutions, medical researchers, regulators, etc."

Schneider will present "Rhetorical moves and audience considerations in the discussion sections of Randomized Controlled Trials of health interventions," which will cover research she has conducted with Graciela Rosemblat and Halil Kilicoglu at the U.S. National Library of Medicine and Shabnam Tafreshi at George Washington University.

Abstract: Clinicians and medical researchers are taught to consider Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) as one of the strongest forms of medical evidence. We will document and classify rhetorical moves in the discussion sections of 37 RCT reports about health interventions. We will use these moves in order to determine which higher-level argumentative goals and audiences seem salient in RCT discussion sections. Our results could be used in teaching authors to write effective RCT reports, to reach their intended audiences, and in the future, for automation such as argumentation mining.

According to Schneider, "Our natural, human tendency is to see cause and effect everywhere and to make up stories about why things happen. RCTs blind not just the patient but also the health care practitioner regarding the treatment in order to prevent this. Since RCTs are widely used, making them more readable and relevant to various audiences is important. They help determine the best, most effective medical treatments."

In addition to Schneider's talk, the panel will include presentations that address how health care practitioners can engage patients in making better, more collaborative plans for their own care and how advertisers design ads for over-the-counter drugs in order to show the medication is safe and effective. 

Schneider studies scholarly communication and social media through the lens of arguments, evidence, and persuasion. She is developing linked data (ontologies, metadata, Semantic Web) approaches to manage scientific evidence. She holds a PhD in informatics from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Prior to joining the iSchool in 2016, Schneider served as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Pittsburgh and INRIA, the national French Computer Science Research Institute. She recently received an XSEDE start-up award for her research in biomedical informatics.

Filed Under: Health and Bioinformatics, conferences, faculty news