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Finding common ground: how the development of theory in public health research can bring us together
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9349-9936
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4661-3462
2019 (English)In: Social Theory & Health, ISSN 1477-8211, E-ISSN 1477-822XArticle in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Within the past few decades, the academic discipline of public health has taken root in universities around the world. As a young and multidisciplinary field with a dual-research/practice focus and a tradition that emphasises method development, the use of theory in public health research has often been neglected. In this article, we argue that explicit utilisation of theory is crucial to further the development of public health as an academic discipline. By examining three core areas of academic activity at universities—education, research and public outreach—we illustrate the role theory plays in establishing public health as an independent research discipline. We discuss the importance and benefits of including theoretical reasoning in teaching, research articles and communication with non-academic audiences. We also highlight the role of postgraduate students and junior researchers who, thanks to a combination of experience and receptiveness, play an important role in developing public health theory. We believe that a key to a successful process of establishing public health as an academic discipline lies in the development of a transdisciplinary approach to the research subject. This will equip public health researchers with appropriate tools to take on the public health challenges of the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Theory, Transdisciplinary, Paradigm, Public health, Research, Education
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-172408DOI: 10.1057/s41285-019-00119-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-172408DiVA, id: diva2:1346827
Available from: 2019-08-29 Created: 2019-08-29 Last updated: 2019-09-24

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