Law & Governance
[This article was originally published in Healthcare Policy / Politiques de Santé, Volume 2, Number 4.]
This paper reports on a research collective on primary healthcare (PHC) conducted in Quebec in 2004. Thirty ongoing or recently completed studies were synthesized through a process involving a high degree of exchange among researchers who conducted the original studies, investigators and decision-makers. The viewpoints expressed by decision-makers who participated in the process were analyzed in terms of convergence with and divergence from the researchers' viewpoints. In four cases, there was convergence between the decision-makers' and the researchers' viewpoints, thus increasing the validity of the collective's findings. The main divergence between the two groups' viewpoints concerns the strategy adopted in Quebec to create local health and social services networks. Such divergence reflects the distinction made by Klein between scientific evidence and organizational and political evidence.
Our study results illustrate that decision-makers' viewpoints can play an important interpretive and complementary role in producing research syntheses. Although integrating decision-makers' viewpoints into syntheses has been regarded as a strategy for improving the use of research findings, our analysis shows that decision-makers' viewpoints do not necessarily have to be integrated into syntheses but can, instead, be examined for convergence with or divergence from researchers' viewpoints. This deliberative process can enrich discussions and lead to enlightened decision- and policy making.
[To view the French abstract, please scroll down.]
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