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Doing 'health' research in an unhealthy research environment

Johansson, Sheila Ryan

Description

If research produces knowledge about health, and knowledge is essential for improving health, then health research improves health, particularly through policy. Health transition research is exceptionally important to the production of useful knowledge (Caldwell 1990:xiii) because it deals with the causes of improved health over time. While the logic is sound health research is not. It is a contentious field currently producing more confusion than enlightenment, in which continuing uncertainty...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorJohansson, Sheila Ryan
dc.contributor.editorJones, G. W.
dc.contributor.editorDouglas, R. M.
dc.contributor.editorCaldwell, J. C.
dc.contributor.editorD'Souza, Rennie
dc.date.accessioned2003-03-07
dc.date.accessioned2004-05-19T15:35:23Z
dc.date.accessioned2011-01-05T08:36:19Z
dc.date.available2004-05-19T15:35:23Z
dc.date.available2011-01-05T08:36:19Z
dc.date.created1996
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/41418
dc.identifier.urihttp://digitalcollections.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/41418
dc.description.abstractIf research produces knowledge about health, and knowledge is essential for improving health, then health research improves health, particularly through policy. Health transition research is exceptionally important to the production of useful knowledge (Caldwell 1990:xiii) because it deals with the causes of improved health over time. While the logic is sound health research is not. It is a contentious field currently producing more confusion than enlightenment, in which continuing uncertainty means that it is difficult to identify and apply genuinely useful knowledge. Health research, including health transition research, is distributed over a number of fields which in themselves comprise separate academically-based disciplines and subdisciplines. These fields compete with one another to control research and funding; they do not work together to solve problems of pressing importance to health related human welfare. While there are exceptional individual social scientists, who conduct and support genuinely co-operative interdisciplinary research, their best efforts may not be able to transform a research environment which makes the production of useful knowledge difficult. In the present research environment it is generally yes that most health research is done to advance the welfare of a field and the experts in it. The competition between fields means that the overarching goal of all social science research — the improvement of human welfare — is easily lost in the struggle for disciplinary hegemony. The purpose of this paper is to explore the intellectual and institutional circumstances which create this counter-productive, welfare-negative research environment, and suggest how it might be reformed.
dc.format.extent52164 bytes
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherHealth Transition Centre, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University
dc.subjectHealth research
dc.subjecthealth transition
dc.subjecthealth history
dc.subjecthealth policy
dc.titleDoing 'health' research in an unhealthy research environment
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.refereedno
local.identifier.citationnumbersuppl.
local.identifier.citationpages371-384
local.identifier.citationpublicationHealth Transition Review
local.identifier.citationvolume6
local.identifier.citationyear1996
local.identifier.eprintid911
local.rights.ispublishedyes
dc.date.issued1996
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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