Understandings and Uses of Public Health Research
Translating scientific knowledge into public and patient benefit and engaging with the public on issues of biomedical and population health research are important aspects of the MRC’s mission to improve public health. Scientific knowledge is synthesised, disseminated and exchanged within a socio-political and cultural context. Understanding how health issues and policies are represented, experienced and understood by people; how people experience the translation of scientific knowledge; and how research evidence is used is important if knowledge translation strategies that promote public health are to be developed.
As part of the MRC’s efforts to promote dialogue with the public about health research and policy, this programme of research is able to rapidly respond to conduct empirical research into how public health issues, policies and research evidence are presented, understood and experienced. This involves developing a greater understanding of the value of science in society and into the best ways of engaging people about our research.
Our aim is to deliver robust empirical research into major public health issues which affect how people understand and use public health knowledge to improve the timely translation of scientific knowledge, and promote useful dialogue and public engagement on contemporary issues facing biomedical, social and public health research. Our work fits within the Unit's mission of providing timely evidence to policy, professional and public audiences, and the MRC's mission of promoting timely knowledge translation.
We have three broad objectives:
1 - To respond quickly to emerging public health debates, by exploring lay and professional understandings of new interventions, policies or public health issues that could become particularly newsworthy or controversial;
2 - To contribute to the evidence base on how research evidence is used to translate health knowledge into policy and practice, and develop practical ways to make research evidence more useful and accessible to users;
3 - To improve understandings of how we engage people in science and share our research with the public to build trust and increase the academic sector's relevance to, and impact on, civil society.
Fergie G, Hilton S, Hunt K. Young adults’ experiences of seeking online information about diabetes and mental health in the age of social media. Health Expectations 2016;19:1324–1335open access
Katikireddi SV, Hilton S, Bond L. The role of the Sheffield Model on the Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol debate: The importance of a rhetorical perspective. Evidence and Policy 2016;12:521-539open access
Patterson C, Emslie C, Mason O, Fergie G, Hilton S. A content analysis of UK newspaper and online news representations of women’s and men’s ‘binge’ drinking: a challenge for communicating evidence-based messages about single-episodic drinking?. BMJ Open 2016;6:e013124open access
Thomson H. Commentary on Current use was established and Cochrane guidance on selection of social theories for systematic reviews of complex interventions was developed, Noyes J, Hendry M, Booth A, Chandler J, Lewin S, Glenton C, et al. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 2016;75:78-92 [commentary]. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016 2016;10 (Suppl 1):11-12
Weishaar H, Collin J, Amos A. Tobacco control and health advocacy in the European Union: understanding effective coalition-building. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2016;18:122-9open access
Boydell N, Fergie G, McDaid L, Hilton S. Understandings of participation in behavioural research: a qualitative study of gay and bisexual men in Scotland. PLoS One 2015;10: e0135001open access
Katikireddi SV, Hilton S. How did policy actors use mass media to influence the Scottish alcohol minimum unit pricing debate? Comparative analysis of newspapers, evidence submissions and interviews. Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy 2015;22:125-134open access
Patterson C, Katikireddi SV, Wood K, Hilton S. Representations of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in UK newspapers: a case study of a public health policy debate. Journal of Public Health 2015;37:40-9open access
Patterson C, McDaid LM, Hilton S. Gay and bisexual men’s perceptions of the donation and use of human biological samples for research: a qualitative study. PLoS One 2015;10:e0129924open access
Patterson C, Semple S, Wood K, Duffy S, Hilton S. A quantitative content analysis of UK newsprint coverage of proposed legislation to prohibit smoking in private vehicles carrying children. BMC Public Health 2015;15:760open access
Weishaar H, Amos A, Collin Jeff. Unpacking commercial sector opposition to European smoke-free policy: lack of unity, ‘fear of association’ and harm reduction debates. Tobacco Control 2015
Boydell N, Fergie GM, McDaid L, Hilton S. Avoiding pitfalls and realising opportunities: reflecting on issues of sampling and recruitment for online focus groups. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 2014;13:206-223open access
Farmer J, Nimegeer A. Community participation to design rural primary healthcare services. BMC Health Services Research 2014;14:130
Fergie Gillian M. Understanding young adults' online engagement and health experiences in the age of social media: exploring diabetes and common mental health disorders [PhD], MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow 2014.
Hilton S, Wood K, Bain J, Patterson C, Duffy S, Semple S. Newsprint coverage of smoking in cars carrying children: a case study of public and scientific opinion driving the policy debate. BMC Public Health 2014;14:1116open access
Hilton S, Wood K, Patterson C, Katikireddi SV. Implications for alcohol minimum unit pricing advocacy: what can we learn for public health from UK newsprint coverage of key claim-makers in the policy debate?. Social Science & Medicine 2014;102:157–164open access
Katikireddi SV, Bond L, Hilton S. Changing policy framing as a deliberate strategy for public health advocacy: a qualitative policy case study of minimum unit pricing of alcohol. Milbank Quarterly 2014;92:250-83open access
Katikireddi SV, Bond L, Hilton S. Perspectives on econometric modelling to inform policy: a UK qualitative case study of minimum unit pricing of alcohol. European Journal of Public Health 2014;24:490-495open access
Katikireddi SV, Hilton S, Bonell C, Bond L. Understanding the development of Minimum Unit Pricing of alcohol in Scotland: a qualitative study of the policy process. PLoS One 2014;9:e91185open access
Katikireddi SV, Smith KE. Minimum unit pricing of alcohol in Scotland. In: Hill M, editor Studying public policy: an international approach. Bristol: Policy Press, 2014.
Martin S, McDaid LM, Hilton S. Double-standards in reporting of risk and responsibility for sexual health: a qualitative content analysis of negatively toned UK newsprint articles. BMC Public Health 2014;14:792open access
Purcell C, Hilton S, McDaid LM. The stigmatisation of abortion: a qualitative analysis of print media in Great Britain in 2010. Culture, Health & Sexuality 2014;16:1141-55open access
van Bekkum J, Hilton S. UK research funding bodies' views towards public participation in health-related research decisions: an exploratory study. BMC Health Services Research 2014;14:318open access
Wood K, Patterson C, Katikireddi SV, Hilton S. Harms to ‘others’ from alcohol consumption in the minimum unit pricing policy debate: a qualitative content analysis of UK newspapers (2005-2012). Addiction 2014;109:578–584pubmed
Fergie G, Hunt K, Hilton S. What young people want from health-related online resources: a focus group study. Journal of Youth Studies 2013;16:579-596open access
Hilton S, Patterson C, Smith E, Bedford H, Hunt K. Teenagers' understandings of and attitudes towards vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases: a qualitative study. Vaccine 2013;31:2543–2550open access
Katikireddi SV, Higgins M, Smith KE, Williams G. Health inequalities: the need to move beyond bad behaviours [editorial]. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2013;67:715-716
Lewis C, Clotworthy M, Hilton S, Magee C, Robertson MJ, Stubbins LJ, Corfield J. Consent for the use of human biological samples for biomedical research: a mixed methods study exploring the UK public’s preferences. BMJ Open 2013;3:e003022open access
Lewis C, Clotworthy M, Hilton S, Magee C, Robertson MJ, Stubbins LJ, Corfield J. Public views on the donation and use of human biological samples in biomedical research: a mixed methods study. BMJ Open 2013;3:e003022open access
Martin S, Hilton S, McDaid LM. United Kingdom newsprint media reporting on sexual health and blood-borne viruses in 2010. Sexual Health 2013;10:546-552open access
Patterson C, Hilton S. Normalisation and stigmatisation of obesity in UK newspapers: a visual content analysis. The Open Obesity Journal 2013;5:82-91open access
van Bekkum JE, Hilton S. Primary care nurses' experiences of how the mass media influence frontline healthcare in the UK. BMC Family Practice 2013;14:178open access
van Bekkum JE, Hilton S. The challenges of communicating research evidence in practice: perspectives from UK health visitors and practice nurses. BMC Nursing 2013;12:17open access
Craig P, Cooper C, Gunnell D, Haw S, Lawson K, Macintyre S, Ogilvie D, Petticrew M, Reeves B, Sutton M, Thompson S. Using natural experiments to evaluate population health interventions: new Medical Research Council guidance. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2012;66:1182-1186pubmed open access
Hilton S, Patterson C, Teyhan A. Escalating coverage of obesity in UK newspapers: the evolution and framing of the ‘obesity epidemic’ from 1996 to 2010. Obesity 2012;20:1688-1695pubmed open access
Katikireddi SV, Mclean JA. Introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol in Scotland: considerations under European law and the implications for European public health [commentary]. European Journal of Public Health 2012;22:457-458open access
Katikireddi SV, Niedzwiedz CL, Popham F. Trends in population mental health before and after the 2008 recession: a repeat cross-sectional analysis of the 1991–2010 Health Surveys of England. BMJ Open 2012;2:e001790open access
MacCalman L, Semple S, Galea KS, Van Tongeren M, Dempsey S, Hilton S, Gee I, Ayres JG. The relationship between workers’ self-reported changes in health and their attitudes towards a workplace intervention: lessons from smoke-free legislation across the UK hospitality industry. BMC Public Health 2012;12:324pubmed open access
Macintyre S. Evidence in the development of health policy. Public Health 2012;126:217-219pubmed open access
Roberts H, Petticrew M, Macintyre S, Liabo K. The Anglo-Saxon disease: a pilot study of the barriers and facilitators to the use of randomised controlled trials of social programmes in an international context. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2012;66:1025–1029pubmed open access
Smith KE, Katikireddi SV. A glossary of theories for understanding policymaking. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2012;67:198-202pubmed open access
Craig P, Cooper C, Gunnell D, Haw S, Lawson K, Macintyre S, Ogilvie D, Petticrew M, Reeves B, Sutton M, Thompson S. Using natural experiments to evaluate population health interventions. Glasgow, 2011open access
Douglas MJ, Carver H, Katikireddi SV. How well do strategic environmental assessments in Scotland consider human health?. Public Health 2011;125:585-91pubmed
Gray C M, Hunt K, Lorimer K, Anderson AS, Benzeval M, Wyke S. Words matter: a qualitative investigation of which weight status terms are acceptable and motivate weight loss when used by health professionals. BMC Public Health 2011;11:513pubmed open access
Higgins M, Katikireddi SV, Conaglen P, Jones C, Douglas M. UK Public Accounts Committee report on health inequalities [letter]. The Lancet 2011;377ID - 253:206-7open access
Hilton S, Hunt K, Bedford H, Petticrew M. School nurses' experiences of delivering the UK HPV vaccination programme in its first year. BMC Infectious Diseases 2011;11:226pubmed open access
Hilton S, Hunt K. UK newspapers' representations of the 2009-2010 outbreak of swine flu: one health scare not over-hyped by the media?. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2011;65:941-6pubmed open access
Hilton S, Smith E. 'I thought cancer was one of those random things. I didn't know cancer could be caught…' adolescent girls' understandings and experiences of the HPV programme in the UK. Vaccine 2011;29:4409-15pubmed open access
Katikireddi SV, Higgins M, Bond L, Bonell C, Macintyre S. How evidence based is English public health policy?. BMJ 2011;343:d7310pubmed open access
Lorimer K, Gray CM, Hunt K, Wyke S, Anderson A, Benzeval M. Response to written feedback of clinical data within a longitudinal study: a qualitative study exploring the ethical implications. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2011;11:10pubmed open access
Macintyre S. Good intentions and received wisdom are not good enough: the need for controlled trials in public health. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2011;65:564-7pubmed open access
Sim JA, Ulanikaa AA, Katikireddi SV, Gorman D. 'Out of two bad choices, I took the slightly better one': vaccination dilemmas for Scottish and Polish migrant women during the H1N1 influenza pandemic. Public Health 2011;125:505-11pubmed
Hilton S, Hunt K, Langan M, Petticrew M. Newsprint media representations of the introduction of the HPV vaccination programme for cervical cancer prevention in the UK (2005-2008). Social Science & Medicine 2010;70:942-50pubmed open access
Hilton S, Hunt K. Coverage of Jade Goody's cervical cancer in UK newspapers: a missed opportunity for health promotion?. BMC Public Health 2010;10:386pubmed open access
Hilton S, Smith E. Public views of the UK media and government reaction to the 2009 swine flu pandemic. BMC Public Health 2010;10:697pubmed open access
Wilson P M, Petticrew M, Calnan M, Nazareth I. Disseminating research findings: what should researchers do? A systematic scoping review of conceptual frameworks. Implementation Science 2010;5:91pubmed open access
Wilson P M, Petticrew M, Calnan M, Nazareth I. Does dissemination extend beyond publication: a survey of a cross section of public funded research in the UK. Implementation Science 2010;5:61pubmed open access
Wilson P M, Petticrew M, Calnan M, Nazareth I. Effects of a financial incentive on health researchers’ response to an online survey: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research 2010;12:e13pubmed open access
Ayres J, Semple S, MacCalman L, Dempsey S, Hilton S, Hurley J, Miller BG, Naji A, Petticrew M. Bar workers' health and environmental tobacco smoke exposure (BHETSE): symptomatic improvement in bar staff following smoke-free legislation in Scotland. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2009;66:339-46pubmed open access
Hilton S, Bedford H, Calnan M, Hunt K. Competency, confidence and conflicting evidence: key issues affecting health visitors’ use of research evidence in practice. BMC Nursing 2009;8:4pubmed open access
Hilton S, Hunt K, Langan M, Hamilton V, Petticrew M. Reporting of MMR evidence in professional publications:1988-2007. Archives of Disease in Childhood 2009;94:831-3pubmed open access
Wilson P, Petticrew M, Booth A. After the gold rush? A systematic and critical review of general medical podcasts. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 2009;102:69-74pubmed open access
Davidson R, Mitchell R, Hunt K. Location, location, location: the role of experience of disadvantage in lay perceptions of area inequalities in health. Health & Place 2008;14:167-181pubmed
Hilton S, Cameron J, MacLean A, Petticrew M. Observations from behind the bar: changing patrons' behaviours in response to smoke-free legislation in Scotland. BMC Public Health 2008;8:238pubmed open access
Roberts H, Petticrew M, Macintyre S, Liabo K, Stevens M. Randomised controlled trials of social interventions: report of a pilot study of barriers and facilitators in an international context. MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit Occasional Paper no. 19, Glasgow, 2008
Wilson P, Petticrew M, on behalf of the Medical Research Council's Population Health Sciences Research Network Knowledge Transfer Project team , Calnan M, Nazareth I. Why promote the findings of single research studies?. BMJ 2008;336:722-3pubmed
Hilton S, Hunt K, Petticrew M. Gaps in parental understandings and experiences of vaccine-preventable diseases: a qualitative study. Child: Care, Health and Development 2007;33:170-179pubmed open access
Hilton S, Hunt K, Petticrew M. MMR: marginalised, misrepresented and rejected? Autism: a focus group study. Archives of Disease in Childhood 2007;92:322-327pubmed open access
Hilton S, Petticrew M, Hunt K. Parents' champions vs. vested interests: who do parents believe about MMR? A qualitative study. BMC Public Health 2007;7:42pubmed open access
Hilton S, Semple S, Miller BG, MacCalman L, Petticrew M, Dempsey S, Naji A, Ayres JG. Expectations and changing attitudes of bar workers before and after the implementation of smoke-free legislation in Scotland. BMC Public Health 2007;7:206pubmed open access
Langan M. A contemporary history of the origins and development of UK Biobank, 1998-2005 [PhD], MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit 2007.open access
Petticrew M, Semple S, Hilton S, Creely K, Eadie D, Ritchie D, Ferrell C, Christopher Y, Hurley F. Covert observation in practice: lessons from the evaluation of the prohibition of smoking in public places in Scotland. BMC Public Health 2007;7:204pubmed open access
Semple S, Maccalman L, Naji Audrey A, Dempsey S, Hilton S, Miller B, Ayres JG. Bar workers' exposure to second-hand smoke: the effect of Scottish smoke-free legislation on occupational exposure. Annals of Occupational Hygiene 2007;51:571-580pubmed open access
Davidson R, Kitzinger J, Hunt K. The wealthy get healthy, the poor get poorly? Lay perceptions of health inequalities. Social Science & Medicine 2006;62:2171-2182pubmed
Emslie C, Hunt K. Genetic susceptibility. In: Clarke A, Ticehurst F, editors Living with the Genome: ethical and social aspects of human genetics. Houndsmill, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006:102-107.
Hilton S, Petticrew M, Hunt K. Combined vaccines are like a sudden onslaught to the body's immune system: parental concerns about vaccine overload and immune-vulnerability. Vaccine 2006;24:4321-4327pubmed
Macintyre S, McKay L, Ellaway A. Lay concepts of the relative importance of different influences on health: are there major socio-demographic variations?. Health Education Research 2006;21:731-9pubmed open access
Wimbush E, Harper H, Wight D, Gruer L, Lowther M, Fraser S, Gordon J. Evidence, policy and practice: developing collaborative approaches in Scotland. In: Killoran A , Swann C , Kelly M, editors Public health evidence: tackling health inequalities. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006:201-216.
Harper H. The role of research in policy development: school sex education policy in Scotland since devolution [PhD], MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit 2005.open access
Hilton S. Parental perceptions of childhood immunisation in the context of the MMR controversy [PhD], MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit 2005.
Macintyre S, McKay L, Ellaway A. Are rich people or poor people more likely to be ill? Lay perceptions, by social class and neighbourhood, of inequalities in health. Social Science & Medicine 2005;60:313-317pubmed open access
Macintyre S, McKay L, Ellaway A. Who is more likely to experience common disorders: men, women, or both equally? Lay perceptions in the West of Scotland. International Journal of Epidemiology 2005;34:461-466pubmed open access
Wimbush E, Harper H, Wight D, Gruer L, Lowther M, Fraser S, Gordon J. Evidence, policy and practice: developing collaborative approaches in Scotland. Evidence & Policy 2005;1:391-407
Kitzinger J. The media and health. In: Alder B , Porter M , Abraham C, van Teijlinger E, editors Psychology and sociology applied to medicine. London: Churchill-Livingstone, 2004:50-1.
Petticrew M, Whitehead M, Macintyre S, Graham H, Egan M. Evidence for public health policy on inequalities: 1: the reality according to policymakers. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2004;58:811-816pubmed open access
Whitehead M, Petticrew M, Graham H, Macintyre S, Bambra C, Egan M. Evidence for public health policy on inequalities 2: assembling the evidence jigsaw. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2004;58:817-821pubmed open access
Carter S, Michael M. Signifying across time and space: a case study of biomedical educational texts. Sociology of Health & Illness 2003;25:232-259
Davidson R J C. Representations and lay perceptions of inequalities in health: an analysis of policy documents, press coverage and public understandings [PhD], MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit 2003.
Davidson R, Hunt K, Kitzinger J. Radical blueprint for social change? Media representations of New Labour's policies on public health. Sociology of Health & Illness 2003;25:532-552pubmed
Emslie C, Hunt K, Watt G. A chip off the old block? Lay understandings of inheritance amongst men and women in mid-life. Public Understanding of Science 2003;12:47-65
Emslie C, Hunt K. Genetic susceptibility. In: Encyclopedia of the human genome. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2003:947-950.
Kitzinger J. Creating discourses of 'false memory': media coverage and production dynamics. In: Reavey P, Warner S, editors Challenging the tyranny of truth. London: Routledge, 2003.
Emslie C, Hunt K, Watt G. Invisible women? The importance of gender in lay beliefs about heart problems. In: Nettleton S, Gustafsson U, editors The sociology of health and illness reader. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002:146-161.
Emslie C, Hunt K, Watt G. 'I'd rather go with a heart attack than drag on' lay images of heart disease and the problems they present for primary and secondary prevention. Coronary Health Care 2001;5:25-32
Emslie C, Hunt K, Watt G. Invisible women? The importance of gender in lay beliefs about heart problems. Sociology of Health & Illness 2001;23:201-231open access
Hunt K, Emslie C, Watt G. Lay constructions of a 'family history' of heart disease: potential for misunderstandings in the clinical encounter?. The Lancet 2001;357:1168-1171pubmed
Hunt K, Emslie C. Commentary: the prevention paradox in lay epidemiology- Rose revisited. International Journal of Epidemiology 2001;30:442-446pubmed open access
McConnachie A, Hunt K, Emslie C, Hart C, Watt G. 'Unwarranted survivals' and 'anomalous deaths' from coronary heart disease: prospective survey of general population. BMJ 2001;323:1487-1491pubmed
Michael M , Carter S. The facts about fictions and vice versa: public understanding of human genetics. Science as Culture 2001;10:5-32
Hunt K, Davison C, Emslie C, Ford G. Are perceptions of a family history of heart disease related to health-related attitudes and behaviours?. Health Education Research 2000;15:131-143pubmed open access
Hunt K, Emslie C, Watt G. Barriers rooted in biography: how interpretations of family patterns of heart disease and early life experiences may undermine behavioural change in mid-life. In: Graham H, editor Understanding health inequalities. Buckingham: Open University Press, 2000:113-126.
Eldridge J. Risk, society and the media: now you see it, now you don't. In: Philo G, editor Message Received. Longman, 1999:106-127.
Kitzinger J, Farquhar C. The analytical potential of 'sensitive moments' in focus group discussions. In: Barbour R, Kitzinger J, editors Developing focus group gesearch: politics, theory and practice. London: Sage, 1999:156-172.
Kitzinger J. Researching risk and the media. Health, Risk and Society 1999;1:55-69
Miller D, Macintyre S. Risk communication: the relationship between the media, public beliefs and policy-making. In: Bennett PG, Calman KC, editors Risk Communication and Public Health. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999:229-240.
Miller D. Risk, science and policy: definitional struggles, information management, the media and BSE. Social Science & Medicine 1999;49:1239-1255
Philo G. Message Received. Harlow: Longman, 1999.
Reilly J. Just another Food Scare? Changes in public understandings of BSE. In: Philo G, editor Message Received. London: Longman, 1999:128-147.
Kitzinger J. The gender politics of news production: silenced voices and false memories. In: Carter C, editor News, Gender and Power. London: Routledge, 1998:186-203.
Macintyre S, Reilly J, Miller D, Eldridge J. Food choice, food scares, and health: the role of the media. In: Murcott A, editor The nation's diet: the social science of food choice. London: Addison Wesley Longman, 1998:228-249.
Miller D, Kitzinger J, Williams K, Beharrell P. The Circuit of Mass Communication: Media Strategies, Representation and Audience Reception in the AIDS Crisis. London: Sage, 1998.
Reilly J. The salmonella-in-eggs crisis in Britain. In: Applebaum M, editor Alimentation, Peurs, et Risques: Ouvrage sous la Direction. Paris: Observatoire Cidil de L'harmonie Alimentaire, 1998:14-22.
- Jean Adams
- Amanda Amos
- Thomas Anker
- Linda Bauld
- Helen Bedford
- Jeff Collin
- Sheila Duffy
- Douglas Eadie
- James Egan
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- Anna Gilmore
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- Mark Petticrew
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- Sean Semple
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