Capturing complex realities: understanding efforts to achieve evidence-based policy and practice in public health

Katherine E Smith, Kerry E. Joyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Studies exploring how and why evidence informs decisions (or not) often focus on perceived cultural, communicative and institutional gaps between research producers and users. More recently, there has been a growing interest in exploring how political differences between competing 'policy networks' might shape research utilisation. Drawing on two public health case studies, this paper highlights the multiplicity of divisions informing knowledge translation, arguing that this calls into question the appropriateness of prioritising professional or political divisions. It concludes by outlining how complexity theories might be employed to develop more sophisticated ways of conceptualising the relationships between research, policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-78
Number of pages22
JournalEvidence and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • law
  • medical sciences
  • health inequalities

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