Whatever is a theoretical framework?

This is a question that comes up time and again and Health Promotion Practice (which is currently releasing some of its top read articles as  open access) recently published a paper on Developing a Theoretical Framework for Complex Community-Based Interventions (Angeles et al, 2014).

Developing and applying theoretical frameworks helps continually advance knowledge. The above paper is particularly relevant to many environmental health issues as it looks at complex community interventions. Very briefly summarised, it tells us that we need to start with identifying the essential elements of the interventions, identify variables and how these relate, consider existing models and theoretic frameworks, developing hypothesis, validation and revisions.

Another paper of great interest to environmental health practitioners in this open access release is Writing Well: A Writing Style Checklist to Promote Publication Among Practitioners (Goldman and Schmalz, 2013). It says, “No matter who you are or in what setting you work, you, the frontline practitioner, have something to say that your colleagues and related medical, health, and human and social service professionals, among others, need to hear. We need practitioners—particularly those of you on the frontline—to write about what you’ve done and what you’ve learned. There are knowledge gaps to be filled and issues to be raised that only practitioners, with their day in and day out field experience, can provide.” I for one couldn’t agree more – for an example of a Chartered Institute of Environmental Health publication on effective housing interventions and some reviews, click here and scroll down. Take a look at its chapter templates and think how you could write up your work in this type of format.

You may well wonder why EHRNet haven’t been writing more about this. Well we are! The five of us are currently in the final stages of a research and publication chapter for the forthcoming edition of Clay’s Handbook of Environmental Health due 2016. Issues including theoretical frameworks and writing for publication in environmental health are covered based to an extent on our own experiences, workshops we have delivered and things we have learnt along the way.

We are also meanwhile working on several various publications between us, more on this to follow….

Jill

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