Article

Using evidence to inform health policy: case study.

MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Glasgow G12 8RZ. Sally.msoc.mrc.gla.ac.uk
BMJ Clinical Research (Impact Factor: 14.09). 02/2001; 322(7280):222-5.
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Available from: Sally Macintyre, Jul 08, 2015
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    • "Only two of these (Muggli et al, 2004; Schneider and Glantz, 2008) had a clear public health focus, and both of these publications are tobacco-related (as discussed in more detail below). The lack of attention paid to the potential role of think tanks in mediating the relationship between public health research and policy seems strange in the context of: (1) widespread enthusiasm for improving the use of public health research in policy, including via 'knowledge brokering' (for example, Lavis et al, 2004; Macintyre et al, 2001; Wimbush et al, 2005); and (2) claims think tanks tend to be more effective than academics in influencing policy debates (McLennan and Osborne, 2003; Sebba, 2011). Perhaps partly due to the limited number of empirical studies, the extent to which UK think tanks have actually been successful in influencing policy remains a subject of much debate (Sherrington, 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: The number of think tanks operating in the UK is increasing, providing an ever important source of ideas and research for policy audiences. They have been framed by some as useful intermediaries between research and policy, which academics aiming to influence policy might seek to emulate. Yet, there has been very little empirical work to explore how think tanks employ research, or on whose behalf they operate. This paper draws on two qualitative research projects to begin addressing this gap by exploring the role of British think tanks in debates about two major public health concerns: tobacco control and health inequalities. key words think tanks • health inequalities • tobacco industry • UK
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    • "Against a background of debates on the role of evidence-based policy for public health (Davey Smith et al, 2001; Macintyre et al, 2001; Rychetnik et al, 2002), our findings highlight how, at more local levels, the fallibility of the concept of independence emerges. The concept of a `pure' or`neutral' expert or body of evidence is highly problematic and yet the importance of being independentöand appearing to be soö was underlined by several statutory professionals and community representatives. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is a substantial literature on notions of public trust in relation to risks from environmental and technological hazards. Rather less work has sought to explore trust in terms of professional interstakeholder relations in this context. Drawing on a case study for northern England, we consider dimensions of trust amongst those with a ‘professional’ involvement in the arena of environmental hazards and public health. We explore specifically the interrelated themes of scientific uncertainty and expertise, which were central to the shaping of trust relations. Against a background of indeterminacy in the scientific search for causality in environment – health relationships, the empirical work on which the paper is based is also set in a context of change and insecurity in organisational terms. The notion of ‘independence’ was brought into question through aspects of role demarcation while concerns about levels of expertise were superimposed with a sense of exclusion of community groups from ‘official’ environment – health debates. We argue that a simple deficit approach was being adopted on the part of salaried professionals towards community involvement in such debates.
    Environment and Planning A 03/2008; 40(3):696-714. DOI:10.1068/a3993 · 1.69 Impact Factor
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    • "Compared to the general population, lower rates of alcohol and tobacco use have been found for some Asian adults (Balarajan and Yuen 1986, Jackson et al 1981, Williams et al 1994), young people (HEA 1992a) and children (HEA 1992b, Karlsen et al 1998, Kohli 1989, Turtle et al 1997), with variation by gender (Jackson et al 1981, Williams et al 1994, Nazroo 1997), and by national (McKeigue et al 1988, Nazroo 1997) and religious group (Nazroo 2001). Viewing alcohol or tobacco use as an individual 'lifestyle' choice is highly contested (Macintyre 2001) and 'culture' has been discredited as an adequate explanation for inequalities between ethnic groups (Nazroo 1998). Patterns of drinking and smoking are neither a result of unfettered individual choice, nor are they simply prescribed by cultural or religious rules. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper considers how young people able to trace their origins from Pakistan or India (henceforth 'Asians'), discuss their use of, or abstention from, alcohol and tobacco in terms of religious and cultural tradition. The role of religion, ethnicity, gender and generation in the uptake or avoidance of alcohol and tobacco was explored in 19 qualitative group and individual interviews with 47 Asians aged 16-26 years and analysed in terms of pioneering and conservative forms of tradition. Religious proscriptions on alcohol and tobacco were reported to be formally gender blind, but concerns about reputation and future marriage chances, sanctioned by gossip, meant that women's behaviour was consistently more constrained than men's. Muslims' abstinence from alcohol was tightly linked with an Islamic identity in that drinking jeopardised one's claim to being a Muslim, whereas cigarette smoking was tolerated among young men. Sikhs' and Hindus' avoidance of tobacco was strongly sanctioned, but smoking did not strongly jeopardise a religious identity. Sikh men's abstention indicated manly strength central to a devout identity. Some experimentation was possible out of view of the older generation, especially the aunties, but the risk of gossip damaging young women's reputations was keenly felt. While damage to women's reputations was hard to undo, men's reputations tarnished by substance use, could be compensated for by their parents' honourable status. Discussion of tradition as innovation was rare and met with resistance. Tradition was largely experienced as a constraint to be circumvented.
    Sociology of Health & Illness 08/2007; 29(5):656-72. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2007.01011.x · 1.88 Impact Factor