Introduction to Health Policy and Systems Research

Category: Methods for HPSR,
Country: South Africa
Region: Africa
Language: English
Audience: Practicing Researchers,


Learning objectives

By the end of the course participants are expected to be able to: 1. Identify researchable health policy and systems issues, including those focused on action to strengthen health systems and the processes of policy change. 2. Formulate substantively relevant health policy or health systems research questions, by drawing on relevant empirical work, practice knowledge, and theoretical insights. 3. Be familiar with the range of research purposes, questions and strategies used within HPSR. 4. Identify appropriate research strategies and study designs for different HPSR issues, purposes and question types. 5. Show awareness of critical issues in, and approaches to, ensuring rigour in HPSR. 6. Be aware of critical ethical issues for HPSR. 7. Be able to source HPSR materials and critically appraise HPSR empirical papers. 8. Appreciate the value of multiple perspectives (positional and disciplinary) in conducting HPSR. 9. Have some understanding of how the complex and socially constructed nature of health policy and health systems is addressed in HPSR methodology. 10. Plan activities that support the use of research evidence for and in decision-making, through researcher–policy maker/practitioner engagement. 11. Recognise that personal skills, such as reflexivity, listening and facilitation, are critical to being a health policy and systems researcher.

Major topics covered

By the end of the course participants are expected to be able, confidently, to identify substantively relevant HPSR questions, to select appropriate research strategies for addressing these questions in specific contexts and to think through approaches that support the use of research evidence in decision-making. The course is framed within the understanding that HPSR is rooted in real-world problems, and requires constant consideration of the ties between policy-making and research

Teaching formats

Facilitator inputs, small group discussions and activities, review of HPSR protocols, critical appraisal of HPSR papers, group projects, independent reading and reflection, open access materials, individual assignments.

Course materials:

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