The (re-)instrumentalization of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in psychological publications: a citation context analysis

by   Kai Li, et al.

Research instruments play significant roles in the construction of scientific knowledge, even though we have only acquired very limited knowledge about their lifecycles from quantitative studies. This paper aims to address this gap by quantitatively examining the citation contexts of an exemplary research instrument, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), in full-text psychological publications. We investigated the relationship between the citation contexts of the DSM and its status as a valid instrument being used and described by psychological researchers. We specifically focused on how this relationship has changed over the DSM's citation histories, especially through the temporal framework of its versions. We found that a new version of the DSM is increasingly regarded as a valid instrument after its publication; this is reflected in various key citation contexts, such as the use of hedges, attention markers, and the verb profile in sentences where the DSM is cited. We call this process the re-instrumentalization of the DSM in the space of scientific publications. Our findings bridge an important gap between quantitative and qualitative science studies and shed light on an aspect of the social process of scientific instrument development that is not addressed by the current qualitative literature.


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