Mat Walton

Mat Walton
Environmental Science & Research | ESR · Social Systems

PhD., DPH., BA(Hons)

About

39
Publications
7,529
Reads
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503
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2010 - January 2015
Massey University
Position
  • Lecturer
June 2007 - October 2009
University of Otago
Position
  • Research Assistant

Publications

Publications (39)
Article
Full-text available
Recent literature has usefully explored the application of complexity theory to evaluation. However, there is little discussion of the contextual conditions in applying complexity theory. Drawing upon a single complexity-consistent public health programme evaluation and subsequent policy decisions, this paper considers how programme framing and gov...
Article
Complexity theory has increasingly been discussed and applied within evaluation literature over the past decade. This article reviews the discussion and use of complexity theory within academic journal literature. The aim is to identify the issues to be considered when applying complexity theory to evaluation. Reviewing 46 articles, two groups of t...
Article
This article aims to contribute to the application of ethical frameworks to public health policy. In particular, the article considers the use of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics stewardship model, as an applied framework for the evaluation of evidence within public health policymaking. The ‘Stewardship framework’ was applied to a policy proposal...
Article
Full-text available
Interest in the development of complexity theory and its application to policy and social sciences has been accelerating over the last decade. Drawing on three pieces of recent New Zealand research, this article aims to provide an introduction to complexity theory for policy practitioners and researchers, highlighting principles of complexity theor...
Article
This paper reports on a complex environmental approach to addressing 'wicked' health promotion problems devised to inform policy for enhancing food security and physical activity among Māori, Pacific and low-income people in New Zealand. This multi-phase research utilized literature reviews, focus groups, stakeholder workshops and key informant int...
Article
A commentary on “Confronting storms, fires and pestilence: Meaningful evaluation for a hazardous world” by Juha I. Uitto https://www.nzcer.org.nz/system/files/journals/evaluation-maters/downloads/EM%202021_7_148_0.pdf
Technical Report
Full-text available
Testing wastewater for markers of human health is an emerging technological field, which brings with it issues of ethics, health equities and public acceptance. ESR has been investigating these issues with two social science studies. The first study was a series of interviews with knowledgeable stakeholders from Aotearoa New Zealand, focused on eth...
Article
Full-text available
For the last several decades and recently amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many in the global evaluation communities call for shifts from linear, reductionist ways of thinking and working to approaches that embrace systems and complexity. In this introductory chapter, we orient readers to key systems and complexity traditions and terms and how these h...
Research
Full-text available
A thematic synthesis literature review about the experiences of both patients and medical practitioners with the forensic medical examination conducted after a sexual assault, with a focus on Aotearoa New Zealand.
Article
Full-text available
The Coronavirus pandemic of 2019–20 (COVID-19) affected multiple social determinants of health (SDH) across the globe, including in New Zealand, exacerbating health inequities. Understanding these system dynamics can support decision making for the pandemic response and recovery measures. This study combined a scoping review with a causal loop diag...
Article
Full-text available
With the increasing maturity of systems thinking and complexity science (STCS) within evaluation, this issue of NDE provides case examples of contemporary application. This article identifies themes across case examples to identify emergent patterns and opportunities for the continued development of evaluation practices that draw upon STCS. Each ar...
Article
In this paper, we present a critical collaboration model, drawing together two complementary theoretical frameworks, as well as insights from three case studies from New Zealand, to offer a systematic approach to adopting a critical systems perspective in public health collaboration. The model provides six questions to make explicit individuals’ un...
Article
Full-text available
Background The effects of waste on the environment and human health continue to increase despite behavioral, technological and policy actions for the management and minimization of waste. We plan to undertake a realist review of waste management and minimization interventions within New Zealand to inform effective approaches to waste minimization a...
Article
Innovation in science and research technology often raises questions of acceptability, ethics and governance processes. This article explores research assessment and ethics frameworks based on values, responsibility, relationships, trust and distributed power, which could give guidance to decision making around research and development investments...
Article
Full-text available
Public health and social services are often hard to specify, complex to deliver and challenging to measure. This research uses a complexity theory-informed lens to explore the challenges and opportunities of contracting out for public health and social services in Aotearoa New Zealand. This qualitative study considers the implications of complexity...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) is a recent field of study which uses chemical analysis to measure substances of interest in samples of wastewater, to provide population-level data. As an emerging set of technologies, ethical and public acceptance issues are actively being discussed by scientists, ethicists and policymakers. This interview-base...
Article
This article presents the findings from the first 3 years of the evaluation of Healthy Families NZ, a systems-change intervention to prevent chronic diseases in 10 communities. The initiative, which builds on existing prevention activities, aims to strengthen the health prevention system through evidence-driven action to enable people to make good...
Article
Background This article outlines the methods being used to evaluate a community-based public health intervention. This evaluation approach recognizes that not only is the intervention, Healthy Families NZ, complex, but the social systems within which it is being implemented are complex. Methods To address challenges related to complexity, we discus...
Article
Interest in evaluating complexity appears to be on the rise. Increasing application of systems thinking and complex systems methodologies to evaluation can be seen in contents of journals and evaluation conferences. To date there has been little systematic examination of experiences of this application. This research considers the experience of 41...
Article
Little has been written about interviewing policy-makers in health promotion and public health research. This article explores the process, pitfalls and profits of semi-structured interviews with policy-makers in 10 research projects conducted in New Zealand. Key members of each research team were surveyed about their research and findings verified...
Article
Purpose – Food practices, including associated routines, rituals, and habits, are an unexplored area in school health promotion. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap through exploring how food rituals act as vehicles for young people to establish, maintain, and strengthen social relationships. Design/methodology/approach – Through an et...
Article
Purpose – The health-promoting schools (HPSs) framework has emerged as a promising model for promoting school connectedness in the school setting. The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential for food practices to promote school connectedness within a HPSs framework. Design/methodology/approach – This study explores food practices within...
Article
Purpose – School connectedness is a well-established protective factor for young people’s physical, mental, and social health. The purpose of this paper is to explore the promotion of school connectedness through the practice of shared lunches within a secondary school context in New Zealand. Design/methodology/approach – An ethnographic methodolo...
Research
Full-text available
2009 Summary of research results for project "Policy Interventions to support primary schools in promoting healthy nutrition.", Department of Public Health, Otago University.
Article
Food practices are embedded in everyday life and social relationships. In youth nutrition promotion little attention is awarded to this centrality of food practices, yet it may play a pivotal role for young people's overall health and wellbeing beyond the calories food provides. Limited research is available explicitly investigating how food practi...
Article
Objectives: This study aimed to identify policy options to support nutrition promotion in New Zealand primary schools. In achieving this aim, the study sought to identify framing by policymakers regarding child diet and obesity; views on the role of schools in nutrition promotion; policy options and degree of support for these options. Issue framin...
Article
School health promotion aims to empower children to gain control over and improve their health. In contrast to many health promotion activities in schools focussed on predefined health issues, giving children a voice to define their own health needs is in itself an empowering process. Utilising a photography methodology, this research aimed to capt...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper aims to introduce ideas from complexity theory, supported by new institutional economics, to suggest principles and methods for conducting value-for-money evaluations on complex public policies. To illustrate why these methods are needed, a recent value-for-money evaluation of the Healthy Eating-Healthy Action Strategy in New Zealand is...
Article
Background. Schools are often identified as a site for intervention to improve the diets of students, and help prevent excess weight gain and obesity. Rates of overweight and obesity amongst school children have risen in much of the world, including New Zealand, with unequal distribution by ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Objective. To identify...
Article
Full-text available
Improving the nutrition of children and reducing rates of childhood overweight and obesity have been high priorities for the New Zealand Government since 2000. The rates of childhood overweight and obesity vary by ethnic group and socio-economic status, and reducing inequalities in the burden of childhood overweight and obesity is an explicit aim o...
Article
Schools are commonly seen as a site of intervention to improve children's nutrition, and prevent excess weight gain. Schools may have limited influence over children's diets; however, with home and community environments also exerting an influence within schools. This study considered the environment of food outlets and outdoor food advertisements...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Testing wastewater (sewage) for substances that can tell us about human health is a growing science and technology field. The COVID-19 pandemic has given this field a boost in terms of visibility and resources, with wastewater testing for the presence of the SARS-COV-2 virus becoming widespread. This social science project aims to investigate the social and ethical issues that accompany this new field, as well as the general case of emerging technologies for human health.