Research Schemas

In the course of writing Cholera, Chloroform, and the Science of Medicine, we developed lists of what transpired at medical society meetings, overviews of Snow's activities and publications, diagrams of the structure of argument in his writings, and word comparisons of successive publications on the same topic. The latter were particularly helpful in establishing time–lines, such as Snow's South London and Broad Street investigations during the cholera epidemic of 1854. Several of these research schemas are reproduced below, some in searchable text, others in .pdf format. They should be consulted in the same spirit as they were generated - as suggestive indicators of possible patterns. We have neither proof–read nor corrected them beyond what was undertaken in the process of readying these research schemas for discussion by the team of authors.

Unless indicated otherwise, the schemas were prepared by Peter Vinten–Johansen. If you have any questions, please contact him directly:

Word Comparison and Analysis

During my first semester in graduate school, Jack Hexter showed the Historiography seminar in which I was a participant how he used word analysis for interpretive purposes - that is, for more than the conventional Rankean purpose of dating and authenticating sources. It was a cumbersome process before personal computers became generally available, so I had rarely followed Hexter's suit until the 1990s. It occurred to me that a variation of this approach could be helpful in our attempt to re–construct Snow's thinking and investigative process during the mid–century cholera epidemics. Five of the schemas I created are posted on the site, all in .pdf.

  1. Comparison of a January 1848 Lancet editorial on metropolitan London water supply and Snow's brief discussion of private water companies in Mode of Communication of Cholera (MCC; (1849).
  2. Comparison of MCC and Pathology and Mode of Communication of Cholera (1849).
  3. Version 1. Snow's 1849 theory in MCC and elaborations prior to the "natural experiment" in South London during the 1853-54 epidemic. I made two versions.
  4. Version 2. Snow's 1849 theory in MCC and elaborations prior to the "natural experiment" in South London during the 1853-54 epidemic. I made two versions.
  5. Snow's multiple investigations in Broad Street.

Tracking Files for Medical Journals

I created searchable lists of materials in the medical journals as I worked my way through them. I then used these lists to keep track of potentially relevant sources as we were writing and I was revising.


Utilizing tracking files and the xeroxes I had made of articles in the medical journals, I created some chronologies as preliminaries to constructing narratives. Several samples are posted below.