Bennett, S., Agyepong, I.A., Sheikh, K., Hanson, K., Ssengooba, F., & Gilson, L. (2011). Building the Field of Health Policy and Systems Research: An Agenda for Action. PLoS Medicine, 8(8). Retrieved from http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001081.
The lack of clarity and shared understanding regarding the scientific foundations of Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) potentially has very negative consequences for the field. Disagreement over the value of different types of theoretical frameworks and research methods can lead to inappropriate evaluations of research proposals, contradictory reviews of the same paper, and delays in publication. Excessive time may be spent communicating broad frameworks to other researchers within HPSR, inhibiting progression to more detailed and specific conversations. Communication barriers may discourage inter-disciplinary collaboration, driving researchers back to their disciplinary safety zones, and creating potential for conflict that may discourage younger researchers who may be less secure in their career from staying in the field. As the second paper in this series concluded, there is an urgent need to build understanding across disciplinary boundaries. This final paper in the “Building the Field of HPSR” series turns to practical questions concerning how to remove structural barriers that currently inhibit the development of the HPSR field and thus unlock HPSR capacities.