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Identifying public health policymakers’ sources of information: comparing survey and network analyses

Oliver, KA; de Vocht, F; Money, A; Everett, M; (2015) Identifying public health policymakers’ sources of information: comparing survey and network analyses. European Journal of Public Health , 27 (Supp 2) pp. 118-123. 10.1093/eurpub/ckv083. Green open access

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Abstract

Background Research suggests that policy makers often use personal contacts to find information and advice. However, the main sources of information for public health policymakers are not known. This study aims to describe policy makers’ sources of information. Methods A questionnaire survey of public health policy makers across Greater Manchester was carried out (response rate 48%). All policy actors above Director level involved in public health policy (finding, analyzing or producing information, producing or implementing policy) in Greater Manchester were included in the sampling frame. Respondents were provided with a list of sources of information and asked which they used (categorical data) and to name specific individuals who acted as sources of information (network data). Data were analysed using frequencies and network analysis. Results The most frequently chosen sources of information from the categorical data were NICE, government websites and Directors of Public Health. However, the network data showed that the main sources of information in the network were actually mid-level managers in the NHS, who had no direct expertise in public health. Academics and researchers did not feature in the network. Conclusion Both survey and network analyses provide useful insights into how policy makers access information. Network analysis offers practical and theoretical contributions to the evidence-based policy debate. Identifying individuals who act as key users and producers of evidence allows academics to target actors likely to use and disseminate their work.

Type: Article
Title: Identifying public health policymakers’ sources of information: comparing survey and network analyses
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckv083
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckv083
Language: English
Additional information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in the European Journal of Public Health following peer review. The version of record, Oliver, KA; de Vocht, F; Money, A; Everett, M; (2015) Identifying public health policymakers' sources of information: comparing survey and network analyses. European Journal of Public Health, is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckv083.
Keywords: Evidence use, public health, public health policy, knowledge systems
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > STEaPP
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1433581
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