Journal Article

Towards a critical social science perspective on health promotion research


in Health Promotion International

Volume 11, issue 2, pages 157-165
Published in print June 1996 | ISSN: 0957-4824
e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI:
Towards a critical social science perspective on health promotion research

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As part of our on-going efforts to formulate an alternative paradigm for health promotion research, we discuss an approach that we have called a ‘critical social science perspective’ (CSSP). This perspective consists of a set of ‘reflexive’ questions concerning the implicit assumptions and ideology underlying the research process, and the role of power, contradiction and dialectical relationships in theory and research practice. The paper briefly outlines key features of a CSSP and models its application to health promotion research by examining why and how smoking among young girls has emerged as a research issue. We illustrate how the ‘problem’ of young girls smoking has been construed in terms of epidemiological evidence, scientific imperative, flawed strategy, feasibility, symbolic appeal, vested interests and resistance. A CSSP reveals the socio-political construction of research problems. The paper reflects on the implications of adopting such a stance to research.

Keywords: critical social science perspective; health promotion; research

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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