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Exploring relationships between evidence and public health policy
thesisposted on 31.01.2017, 01:14 by Tobin, Claire Louise
Evidence-based practice is considered a core competency of public health practitioners. Similarly, the discourse and methodology of evidence-based policy has become a minimum standard expectation of public policy. This thesis assembles a portfolio of internal government reports, a policy statement and peer-reviewed publications, demonstrating professional and scholarly contribution to public health knowledge and practice. These outputs are used as case studies to examine relationships between evidence and public health policy. The policy processes of government departments, statutory bodies, expert taskforces and non-government organisations are examined. In each case the relationship between evidence and policy is shown to be as varied as the diverse public health policy and practice contexts in which the decisions were made. The findings challenge the ideal of evidence-based policy; policy is rarely determined rationally and evidence utilised for policy extends well beyond scientific or scholarly contributions. An alternate model of policy making is proposed, utilising multiple forms of evidence, in order to value context and transparently represent political influences on decision-making.