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Causal Loops and Qualitative Research

Alexandra Macmillan, James Woodcock
Background: Increasing urban bicycling has established net benefits for human and environmental health. Questions remain about which policies are needed and in what order, to achieve an increase in cycling while avoiding negative consequences. Novel ways of considering cycling policy are needed, bringing together expertise across policy, community and research to develop a shared understanding of the dynamically complex cycling system. In this paper we use a collaborative learning process to develop a dynamic causal model of urban cycling to develop consensus about the nature and order of policies needed in different cycling contexts to optimise outcomes...
December 2017: Journal of Transport & Health
Esther Achieng Onyango, Oz Sahin, Alex Awiti, Cordia Chu, Brendan Mackey
BACKGROUND: Malaria is one of the key research concerns in climate change-health relationships. Numerous risk assessments and modelling studies provide evidence that the transmission range of malaria will expand with rising temperatures, adversely impacting on vulnerable communities in the East African highlands. While there exist multiple lines of evidence for the influence of climate change on malaria transmission, there is insufficient understanding of the complex and interdependent factors that determine the risk and vulnerability of human populations at the community level...
November 11, 2016: Malaria Journal
Alexandra Lelia Dima, Marijn de Bruin, Eric Van Ganse
BACKGROUND: Whether people with asthma gain and maintain control over their condition depends not only on the availability of effective drugs, but also on multiple patient and health care professional (HCP) behaviors. Research in asthma rarely considers how these behaviors interact with each other and drug effectiveness to determine health outcomes, which may limit real-life applicability of findings. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to develop a logic process model (Asthma Care Model; ACM) that explains how patient and HCP behaviors impact on the asthma care process...
September 2016: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in Practice
Alexandra Macmillan, Michael Davies, Clive Shrubsole, Naomi Luxford, Neil May, Lai Fong Chiu, Evelina Trutnevyte, Yekatherina Bobrova, Zaid Chalabi
BACKGROUND: The UK government has an ambitious goal to reduce carbon emissions from the housing stock through energy efficiency improvements. This single policy goal is a strong driver for change in the housing system, but comes with positive and negative "unintended consequences" across a broad range of outcomes for health, equity and environmental sustainability. The resulting policies are also already experiencing under-performance through a failure to consider housing as a complex system...
March 8, 2016: Environmental Health: a Global Access Science Source
A K Wittenborn, H Rahmandad, J Rick, N Hosseinichimeh
BACKGROUND: Depression is a complex public health problem with considerable variation in treatment response. The systemic complexity of depression, or the feedback processes among diverse drivers of the disorder, contribute to the persistence of depression. This paper extends prior attempts to understand the complex causal feedback mechanisms that underlie depression by presenting the first broad boundary causal loop diagram of depression dynamics. METHOD: We applied qualitative system dynamics methods to map the broad feedback mechanisms of depression...
February 2016: Psychological Medicine
Leah Frerichs, Jeri Brittin, Dina Sorensen, Matthew J Trowbridge, Amy L Yaroch, Mohammad Siahpush, Melissa Tibbits, Terry T-K Huang
We examined evidence regarding the influence of school physical environment on healthy-eating outcomes. We applied a systems perspective to examine multiple disciplines' theoretical frameworks and used a mixed-methods systematic narrative review method, considering both qualitative and quantitative sources (published through March 2014) for inclusion. We developed a causal loop diagram from 102 sources identified. We found evidence of the influence of many aspects of a school's physical environment on healthy-eating outcomes...
April 2015: American Journal of Public Health
Joe Varghese, V Raman Kutty, Ligia Paina, Taghreed Adam
BACKGROUND: Governing immunization services in a way that achieves and maintains desired population coverage levels is complex as it involves interactions of multiple actors and contexts. In one of the Indian states, Kerala, after routine immunization had reached high coverage in the late 1990s, it started to decline in some of the districts. This paper describes an application of complex adaptive systems theory and methods to understand and explain the phenomena underlying unexpected changes in vaccination coverage...
August 26, 2014: Health Research Policy and Systems
Tian-Syung Lan, Kai-Ling Chen, Pin-Chang Chen, Chao-Tai Ku, Pei-Hsuan Chiu, Meng-Hsiang Wang
This study used system dynamics method to investigate the factors affecting elementary school students' BMI values. The construction of the dynamic model is divided into the qualitative causal loop and the quantitative system dynamics modeling. According to the system dynamics modeling, this study consisted of research on the four dimensions: student's personal life style, diet-relevant parenting behaviors, advocacy and implementation of school nutrition education, and students' peer interaction. The results of this study showed that students with more adequate health concepts usually have better eating behaviors and consequently have less chance of becoming obese...
2014: Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Emily M Gillen, Kristen Hassmiller Lich, Karin B Yeatts, Michelle L Hernandez, Timothy W Smith, Megan A Lewis
This article describes a process for integrating health behavior and social science theories with practice-based insights using participatory systems thinking and diagramming methods largely inspired by system dynamics methods. This integration can help close the gap between research and practice in health education and health behavior by offering a systematic approach to bring together stakeholders across multiple domains. In this process we create a diagram using constructs from multiple health behavior theories at all levels of the social ecological framework as variables in causal loop diagrams...
February 2014: Health Education & Behavior: the Official Publication of the Society for Public Health Education
Kirsten Schuchardt, Claudia Maehler, Marcus Hasselhorn
Recent studies indicate that children with intellectual disabilities have functional limitations primarily in the phonological loop of working memory (Baddeley, 1986). These findings are indicative of a specific structural deficit. Building on this research, the present study examines whether it is possible to identify specific phonological subfunctions as causal factors in these qualitative deviations from typical development found in children with intellectual disabilities. In a three-group design, specific subfunctions of phonological working memory were examined in students of the same mental age (one group of 15-year-olds with mild intellectual disability [IQ 50-69], one group of 10-year-olds with borderline intellectual disability [IQ 70-84], and one group of 7-year-olds of average intelligence [IQ 85-115])...
September 2011: Research in Developmental Disabilities
Cheryl Tatano Beck
Integrating results from multiple analytic approaches used in a research program by the same researcher is a type of metasynthesis that has not often been reported in the literature. In this article the findings of one type of qualitative synthesis approach, a metaethnography, of six qualitative studies on birth trauma and its resulting posttraumatic stress disorder from my program of research are presented. This metaethnography provides a wide-angle lens to view and interpret the far-reaching, stinging tentacles of this often invisible phenomenon that new mothers experience...
March 2011: Qualitative Health Research
Hilary Zelko, Guilherme Roberto Zammar, Ana Paula Bonilauri Ferreira, Amruta Phadtare, Jatin Shah, Ricardo Pietrobon
BACKGROUND: Although scientific innovation has been a long-standing topic of interest for historians, philosophers and cognitive scientists, few studies in biomedical research have examined from researchers' perspectives how high impact publications are developed and why they are consistently produced by a small group of researchers. Our objective was therefore to interview a group of researchers with a track record of high impact publications to explore what mechanism they believe contribute to the generation of high impact publications...
2010: PloS One
Robert Geneau, Pascale Lehoux, Raynald Pineault, Paul Lamarche
BACKGROUND: The work of general practitioners (GPs) is increasingly being looked at from the perspective of the strategies and factors shaping it. This reflects the importance given to primary care services in health care system reform. However, the literature provides little insight into the medical decision-making processes in general practice. Our main objective was to better understand how organizational and environmental factors influence the work of GPs. METHODS: We interviewed 28 GPs working in contrasting organizational settings and environments...
2008: BMC Family Practice
Daniel L Cook, Jesse C Wiley, John H Gennari
We introduce Chalkboard, a prototype tool for representing and displaying cell-signaling pathway knowledge, for carrying out simple qualitative reasoning over these pathways, and for generating quantitative biosimulation code. The design of Chalkboard has been driven by the need to quickly model and visualize alternative hypotheses about uncertain pathway knowledge. Chalkboard allows the biologists to test in silico the implications of various hypotheses. To fulfill this need, chalkboard includes (1) a rich ontology of pathway entities and interactions, which is ultimately informed by the basic chemistry and physics among molecules, and (2) a form of qualitative reasoning that computes causal chains and feedback loops within the network of entities and reactions...
2007: Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing
Agnes Semwanga Rwashana, Ddembe Wileese Williams
This paper demonstrates how qualitative System Dynamics methodology can be used to provide a better understanding of health systems thus facilitating better development and design of computer-based health information systems. In an earlier paper by the same authors, system dynamics modeling and field study research methods are used to capture the complex and dynamic nature of the immunization process, to enhance the understanding of the immunization health care problems and to generate insights that may increase the immunization coverage effectiveness...
2007: Studies in Health Technology and Informatics
T D Leemann, T F Blaschke
Inter- and intra-individual pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic variability is a major cause of adverse drug reactions or ineffective therapy. We are developing a computer-based tool for predicting the consequences of different physiological and pathological states and for reasoning about the possible causes of observed variability that may be useful both in a clinical decision support environment for drug monitoring and as a research aid in the investigation of the influence of physiological factors on drug response...
December 8, 1990: Schweizerische Medizinische Wochenschrift
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