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Policy is political; our ideas about knowledge translation must be too

Morgan-Trimmer, Sarah ORCID: 2014. Policy is political; our ideas about knowledge translation must be too. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 68 (11) , pp. 1010-1011. 10.1136/jech-2014-203820

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This article argues that in public health research, standard approaches to knowledge translation are based on (1) an invalid model of the relationship between research knowledge and policy and (2) an oversimplified concept of ‘knowledge’. Standard approaches tend to focus primarily on communicating research knowledge to policy makers in order to increase the impact of research on policy making.1 ,2 However, the process of policy making is complex and political (in the broad sense); it is not a neutral or technical exercise that simply requires greater use of scientific evidence to improve decision making. Neither is research knowledge neutral or wholly technical; it is produced in social contexts and also operates in societies in uneven ways. There is significant socio-political literature which has analysed the relationship between knowledge and policy, including how they are embedded in social and political contexts, but this is rarely drawn on in public health research.3–6 Knowledge translation in public health is a challenging area which could be informed by this literature; key ideas are briefly outlined here.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN: 1470-2738
Date of Acceptance: 30 May 2014
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 10:01

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