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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; 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.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/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: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2010 The Author(s)
ISSN: 1356-3890
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
Keywords: health inequalities; United Kingdom; devolution; discourse analysis; comparative research; national comparisons; performance assessment
Academic Unit/Department: Other Departments > Vice-Chancellor's Office
Item ID: 30976
Depositing User: Tim Blackman
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2012 16:24
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2014 06:58
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/30976
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