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Wicked comparisons: reflections on cross-national research about health inequalities in the UK

Blackman, Tim, Hunter, David, Marks, Linda, Harrington, Barbara, Elliott, Eva, Williams, Gareth Howard, Greene, Alex and Mckee, Lorna 2010. Wicked comparisons: reflections on cross-national research about health inequalities in the UK. Evaluation 16 (1) , pp. 43-57. 10.1177/1356389009350016

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Abstract

This article discusses a comparative study of how local actors tackle health inequalities in England, Scotland and Wales. The main method used in this study was a thematic analysis of 200 interview transcripts. Its focus was on how health inequalities are framed for intervention by performance assessment systems and the challenge for these systems that their nature as a ‘wicked issue’ presents. The three different national contexts are described, including organizational structures and the use of targets, and the difficulty of making evaluative comparisons is considered. Reflecting on results from the study, it is concluded that both divergence and convergence in themes across the three countries reveal narrative patterns that draw on discourses rather than evidence. The nature of national performance audit regimes appears to play an important part in shaping these discourses, which are themselves evolving, partly in interaction with local feedback.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Institute of Society and Health (CISHE)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: discourses; health inequalities; national comparisons; performance assessment; UK
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 0090-4449
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2020 04:12
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/28127

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