Evidence-Informed Policy in Public Health

  • Katherine Smith
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge and Policy book series (SKP)


The concept of ‘evidence-based policy’ (EBP) is often considered to have evolved from the evidence-based medicine (EBM) movement (Goldenberg 2005; Pawson 2006; Young et al. 2002). One consequence of this link is that EBP often seems to hold particular traction in public health circles (e.g. Macintyre et al. 2001), a field of research with strong connections to medicine and in which medics are often accorded a high status (Hunter et al. 2010). Pawson argues that one of the problems facing advocates of EBP is that these medical roots have bequeathed an inheritance of principles and practices ‘from the hearth and home of clinical treatments and trials’ (Pawson 2006: p. 38) which are not always appropriate means of examining complex policy problems. The opening section of this chapter briefly considers this claim, before introducing the two, contrasting public health ‘policy problems’ on which this book focuses: health inequalities and the ‘tobacco epidemic’.


Health Inequality Tobacco Control Reduce Health Inequality Plain Packaging Black Report 
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Copyright information

© Katherine Smith 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EdinburghUK

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