Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 5 of 5 items for

  • Author or Editor: Michael P Kelly x
Clear All Modify Search

This chapter emphasises the political nature of behaviour change and provides a brief historical overview of the relation between behaviour change and power. It describes the concepts of the automatic and reflective systems in the human mind; the role of the executive function, the self, human agency and social structure and the theory of social practice; developed separately by psychology and sociology to describe and understand human behaviour and behaviour change. It is argued that these concepts not only have much in common, but may be usefully drawn together to provide a more comprehensive theory. The barrier to the coming together of these ideas has been a commitment to the ideas of fundamental causes of behaviour with accurate prediction about the outcomes of these causes. These ideas have been dominant especially in psychology.

Restricted access

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are still working through health systems worldwide, and further reflections about the nature of health and disease, and about how to design and implement effective public health interventions are much needed. For numerous diseases and conditions, as well as for COVID-19, our knowledge base is rich. We know a lot about the biology of the disease, and we have plenty of statistics that relate health to socio-economic factors. In this paper, we argue that we need to add a third dimension to this knowledge base, namely a thorough description of the lifeworld of health and disease, in terms of the mixed biosocial mechanisms that operate in it. We present the concepts of lifeworld and of mixed mechanisms, and then illustrate how they can be operationalised and measured through mixed methodologies that combine qualitative and quantitative approaches. Finally, we explain the complementarity of our approach with the biological and statistical dimensions of health and disease for the design of public health interventions.

Open access

This article explores the political and intellectual influences behind the growth of interest in happiness and the emergence of the new ‘science of happiness’. It offers a critique of the use of subjective wellbeing indicators within indexes of social and economic progress, and argues that the proposed United Kingdom's National Well-being Index is over-reliant on subjective measures. We conclude by arguing that the mainstreaming of happiness indicators reflects and supports the emergence of ‘behavioural social policy’.

Restricted access

Worldwide, policymakers, health system managers, practitioners and researchers struggle to use evidence to improve policy and practice. There is growing recognition that this challenge relates to the complex systems in which we work. The corresponding increase in complexity-related discourse remains primarily at a theoretical level. This paper moves the discussion to a practical level, proposing actions that can be taken to implement evidence successfully in complex systems. Key to success is working with, rather than trying to simplify or control, complexity. The integrated actions relate to co-producing knowledge, establishing shared goals and measures, enabling leadership, ensuring adequate resourcing, contributing to the science of knowledge-to-action, and communicating strategically.

Open access


There has been a rapid increase in the number of, and demand for, organisations offering behavioural science advice to government over the last ten years. Yet we know little of the state of science and the experiences of these evidence providers.

Aims and objectives:

To identify current practice in this emerging field and the factors that impact on the production of high-quality and policy-relevant research.


A qualitative study using one-to-one interviews with representatives from a purposeful sample of 15 units in the vanguard of international behavioural science research in policy. The data were analysed thematically.


Relationships with policymakers were important in the inception of units, research conduct, implementation and dissemination of findings. Knowledge exchange facilitated a shared understanding of policy issues/context, and of behavioural science. Sufficient funding was crucial to maintain critical capacity in the units’ workforces, build a research portfolio beneficial to policymakers and the units, and to ensure full and transparent dissemination.

Discussion and conclusion:

Findings highlight the positive impact of strong evidence-provider/user relationships and the importance of governments’ commitment to co-produced research programmes to address policy problems and transparency in the dissemination of methods and findings. From the findings we have created a framework, ‘STEPS’ (Sharing, Transparency, Engagement, Partnership, Strong relationships), of five recommendations for units working with policymakers. These findings will be of value to all researchers conducting research on behalf of government.

Open access