What is a “Health and Sustainable Development problem?”

What is a “Health and Sustainable Development problem?”

As in the Term 2 Case Study, the Health and Sustainable Development problem is defined in relation to the omissions of how your primary health topic is being approached in the mainstream literature. We want to be critical and constructive, for which we conduct interdisciplinary research that helps challenge and develop mainstream/biomedical narratives. For example, if your health topic is rural healthcare provision in Bangladesh, then your HSD problem might be the role of livelihood coping strategies in explaining the under-utilisation of existing health services, for which you might analyse secondary qualitative data. Another example is if you do an evaluation, then the HSD problem may that the knowledge about public health interventions is generally positively biased towards the interventions’ intended consequences, which requires more balanced and transparent evaluation approaches.

The literature on the HSD problem is usually much broader than the specific health problem. For example, in a research paper on smoking, you could first outline the extent and health implications of smoking globally, then describe how public health interventions have tried to address smoking through individual behaviour change interventions, then you outline the broader literature on how context shapes individual decision making (and therefore makes individual-focused approaches likely to fail), and you use this argument to formulate your specific research question. Then you introduce an analytical framework that you will apply in your research paper in order to guide your analysis, followed by the methodology where you describe how your research design is suitable to answer your question.

Approximately 250-300 words to:
 Outline the larger health and sustainable development problem to which this research
 Summarise briefly what the gap in understanding or the controversy is that your research
 State your research objective and research question clearly.
 Briefly summarise the main point that you are going to make in this study, and the methods
you used to arrive at this conclusion.
Approximately 700-800 words to:
 Using peer-reviewed literature (and, if necessary, policy documents) to outline the current
state of thinking in your chose topic. Be explicit about overlaps and disagreements across
different disciplines.
 Explain and argue for the gap or persistent controversy that prompted your research
 Use literature to explain how you will go about answering your question – e.g. by defining
the relevant conceptual categories that you are going to investigate, by introducing a model
or theory, or by formulating a hypothesis.
Approximately 500-600 words to:
 Describe how you will answer the research question using primary or secondary qualitative
or quantitative data
 Start with a description your overall research design (most likely a cross-sectional design
using qualitative or quantitative data) and then provide details on:
o Data collection methods (i.e. how were data obtained in your primary or secondary
data set – e.g. through interviews, focus groups, surveys, document search, etc?)
o Sampling methods (what was the process of including the sources of information –
e.g. a cluster random sampling design, a purposively selected qualitative sample, a
snowball sample, etc?)
o Data analysis methods (what was the systematic process that you underwent to
distil information from your data – e.g. regression analysis, cluster analysis, thematic
analysis, discourse analysis)
o Ethical dimensions (has ethical approval been obtained and how was it ensured that
respondents’ rights and dignity was safeguarded, e.g. describe here informed
consent procedures)

 Explain how your selected methods can inform your question, and ideally explain also what
would have been the first-best choice of methods in principle (e.g. a long-term panel survey
or ethnographic research, clearly neither of which is possible for this research paper). A

Page 3

strong methods section would be explicit on how the chosen methods deviate from the ideal
methods and the specific part of the problem they therefore speak to.
 If you chose a particular geographical focus, explain why you chose it and what makes it
relevant for your topic, and provide some basic background information to help the reader
understand the setting in which your research took place. (if you chose a case study analysis,
you can provide a sub-section with detailed contextual information in the results section).
Approximately 1,400-1,500 words to:
 Optional: Provide a short (200-300-word) summary of the context of your study if you used a
case example or data from a specific setting
 Summarise the qualitative or quantitative data that you used.
 Structure the findings from your analysis according to your analytical framework or your
hypotheses – do not present raw data, neither here nor in an appendix.
 Substantiate your analysis with excepts (for qualitative material) and tables, graphs, or
figures. Be mindful to explain these visual supplements in your text (e.g. “The quote from
the respondent illustrates the theme that …” or “The table presents the main findings of the
analysis, with results that are statistically different from 0 at p < 0.05 highlighted in bold”).
 Indicate briefly after every analysis sub-section whether and how the findings answer your
research question.
Approximately 800-900 words to:
 Summarise the results section.
 Interpret the meaning of the findings in light of the research topic and theoretical
 Relate the findings of the analysis to the literature – what is new, what is being confirmed,
what contradicts the published literature?
 Address the limitations of the analysis constructively – what is the specific facet of the
question to which this analysis applies, which doubts and potential biases remain, and how
can we rectify them in future research?
Approximately 250-300 words to:
 Summarise how the case study relates to a bigger problem of health and sustainable
development that you raised in the introduction.
 What has the reader learned that helps to understand the problem a little bit better?
 On reflection (but based on what you as researcher learned from the analysis), what are the
practical and policy implications of your analysis? Be as specific as you can, draw on the
analysis, and don’t leave the impression that your suggestion is going to save the world.

Answer preview:

word limit:4175