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Evaluation of public health interventions from a complex systems perspective: A research methods review

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Evaluation of public health interventions from a complex systems perspective : A research methods review. / McGill, E.; Er, V.; Penney, T.; Egan, M.; White, M.; Meier, P.; Whitehead, M.; Lock, K.; Anderson de Cuevas, R.; Smith, R.; Savona, N.; Rutter, H.; Marks, D.; de Vocht, F.; Cummins, S.; Popay, J.; Petticrew, M.

In: Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 272, 113697, 01.03.2021.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Harvard

McGill, E, Er, V, Penney, T, Egan, M, White, M, Meier, P, Whitehead, M, Lock, K, Anderson de Cuevas, R, Smith, R, Savona, N, Rutter, H, Marks, D, de Vocht, F, Cummins, S, Popay, J & Petticrew, M 2021, 'Evaluation of public health interventions from a complex systems perspective: A research methods review', Social Science and Medicine, vol. 272, 113697. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113697

APA

McGill, E., Er, V., Penney, T., Egan, M., White, M., Meier, P., Whitehead, M., Lock, K., Anderson de Cuevas, R., Smith, R., Savona, N., Rutter, H., Marks, D., de Vocht, F., Cummins, S., Popay, J., & Petticrew, M. (2021). Evaluation of public health interventions from a complex systems perspective: A research methods review. Social Science and Medicine, 272, [113697]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113697

Vancouver

McGill E, Er V, Penney T, Egan M, White M, Meier P et al. Evaluation of public health interventions from a complex systems perspective: A research methods review. Social Science and Medicine. 2021 Mar 1;272. 113697. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113697

Author

McGill, E. ; Er, V. ; Penney, T. ; Egan, M. ; White, M. ; Meier, P. ; Whitehead, M. ; Lock, K. ; Anderson de Cuevas, R. ; Smith, R. ; Savona, N. ; Rutter, H. ; Marks, D. ; de Vocht, F. ; Cummins, S. ; Popay, J. ; Petticrew, M. / Evaluation of public health interventions from a complex systems perspective : A research methods review. In: Social Science and Medicine. 2021 ; Vol. 272.

Bibtex

@article{f93676f091d14389a98049db363217cb,
title = "Evaluation of public health interventions from a complex systems perspective: A research methods review",
abstract = "Introduction: Applying a complex systems perspective to public health evaluation may increase the relevance and strength of evidence to improve health and reduce health inequalities. In this review of methods, we aimed to: (i) classify and describe different complex systems methods in evaluation applied to public health; and (ii) examine the kinds of evaluative evidence generated by these different methods. Methods: We adapted critical review methods to identify evaluations of public health interventions that used systems methods. We conducted expert consultation, searched electronic databases (Scopus, MEDLINE, Web of Science), and followed citations of relevant systematic reviews. Evaluations were included if they self-identified as using systems- or complexity-informed methods and if they evaluated existing or hypothetical public health interventions. Case studies were selected to illustrate different types of complex systems evaluation. Findings: Seventy-four unique studies met our inclusion criteria. A framework was developed to map the included studies onto different stages of the evaluation process, which parallels the planning, delivery, assessment, and further delivery phases of the interventions they seek to inform; these stages include: 1) theorising; 2) prediction (simulation); 3) process evaluation; 4) impact evaluation; and 5) further prediction (simulation). Within this framework, we broadly categorised methodological approaches as mapping, modelling, network analysis and {\textquoteleft}system framing{\textquoteright} (the application of a complex systems perspective to a range of study designs). Studies frequently applied more than one type of systems method. Conclusions: A range of complex systems methods can be utilised, adapted, or combined to produce different types of evaluative evidence. Further methodological innovation in systems evaluation may generate stronger evidence to improve health and reduce health inequalities in our complex world. ",
keywords = "Complexity science, Evaluation methodologies, Practice, Public health, Systems thinking, consultation, human, Medline, network analysis, prediction, public health, review, Scopus, simulation, systematic review, thinking, Web of Science",
author = "E. McGill and V. Er and T. Penney and M. Egan and M. White and P. Meier and M. Whitehead and K. Lock and {Anderson de Cuevas}, R. and R. Smith and N. Savona and H. Rutter and D. Marks and {de Vocht}, F. and S. Cummins and J. Popay and M. Petticrew",
year = "2021",
month = mar,
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113697",
language = "English",
volume = "272",
journal = "Social Science and Medicine",
issn = "0277-9536",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Evaluation of public health interventions from a complex systems perspective

T2 - A research methods review

AU - McGill, E.

AU - Er, V.

AU - Penney, T.

AU - Egan, M.

AU - White, M.

AU - Meier, P.

AU - Whitehead, M.

AU - Lock, K.

AU - Anderson de Cuevas, R.

AU - Smith, R.

AU - Savona, N.

AU - Rutter, H.

AU - Marks, D.

AU - de Vocht, F.

AU - Cummins, S.

AU - Popay, J.

AU - Petticrew, M.

PY - 2021/3/1

Y1 - 2021/3/1

N2 - Introduction: Applying a complex systems perspective to public health evaluation may increase the relevance and strength of evidence to improve health and reduce health inequalities. In this review of methods, we aimed to: (i) classify and describe different complex systems methods in evaluation applied to public health; and (ii) examine the kinds of evaluative evidence generated by these different methods. Methods: We adapted critical review methods to identify evaluations of public health interventions that used systems methods. We conducted expert consultation, searched electronic databases (Scopus, MEDLINE, Web of Science), and followed citations of relevant systematic reviews. Evaluations were included if they self-identified as using systems- or complexity-informed methods and if they evaluated existing or hypothetical public health interventions. Case studies were selected to illustrate different types of complex systems evaluation. Findings: Seventy-four unique studies met our inclusion criteria. A framework was developed to map the included studies onto different stages of the evaluation process, which parallels the planning, delivery, assessment, and further delivery phases of the interventions they seek to inform; these stages include: 1) theorising; 2) prediction (simulation); 3) process evaluation; 4) impact evaluation; and 5) further prediction (simulation). Within this framework, we broadly categorised methodological approaches as mapping, modelling, network analysis and ‘system framing’ (the application of a complex systems perspective to a range of study designs). Studies frequently applied more than one type of systems method. Conclusions: A range of complex systems methods can be utilised, adapted, or combined to produce different types of evaluative evidence. Further methodological innovation in systems evaluation may generate stronger evidence to improve health and reduce health inequalities in our complex world.

AB - Introduction: Applying a complex systems perspective to public health evaluation may increase the relevance and strength of evidence to improve health and reduce health inequalities. In this review of methods, we aimed to: (i) classify and describe different complex systems methods in evaluation applied to public health; and (ii) examine the kinds of evaluative evidence generated by these different methods. Methods: We adapted critical review methods to identify evaluations of public health interventions that used systems methods. We conducted expert consultation, searched electronic databases (Scopus, MEDLINE, Web of Science), and followed citations of relevant systematic reviews. Evaluations were included if they self-identified as using systems- or complexity-informed methods and if they evaluated existing or hypothetical public health interventions. Case studies were selected to illustrate different types of complex systems evaluation. Findings: Seventy-four unique studies met our inclusion criteria. A framework was developed to map the included studies onto different stages of the evaluation process, which parallels the planning, delivery, assessment, and further delivery phases of the interventions they seek to inform; these stages include: 1) theorising; 2) prediction (simulation); 3) process evaluation; 4) impact evaluation; and 5) further prediction (simulation). Within this framework, we broadly categorised methodological approaches as mapping, modelling, network analysis and ‘system framing’ (the application of a complex systems perspective to a range of study designs). Studies frequently applied more than one type of systems method. Conclusions: A range of complex systems methods can be utilised, adapted, or combined to produce different types of evaluative evidence. Further methodological innovation in systems evaluation may generate stronger evidence to improve health and reduce health inequalities in our complex world.

KW - Complexity science

KW - Evaluation methodologies

KW - Practice

KW - Public health

KW - Systems thinking

KW - consultation

KW - human

KW - Medline

KW - network analysis

KW - prediction

KW - public health

KW - review

KW - Scopus

KW - simulation

KW - systematic review

KW - thinking

KW - Web of Science

U2 - 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113697

DO - 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113697

M3 - Journal article

VL - 272

JO - Social Science and Medicine

JF - Social Science and Medicine

SN - 0277-9536

M1 - 113697

ER -