A critical interpretive analysis of evidence-based policy making in mental health

Debbie Marais, Jonathan Burns


In the first phase of the study, a review of the literature will be conducted to generate a tentative theoretical understanding of the evidence-based policy making process in health and mental health. The sampling and analysis method used will be critical interpretive synthesis, a relatively new review method derived from meta-ethnography that aims to synthesise a large and diverse body of literature from both quantitative and qualitative traditions (Dixon-Woods et al., 2006). This method is particularly suited to the current study as it is focuses on contextualising findings by deconstructing the theoretical and epistemological assumptions of the studies reviewed. It is also explicit and reflexive about the position and voice of the author in the work (Dixon-Woods et al., 2006). Because of its iterative and interpretive approach, critical interpretive synthesis as a method may not be reproducible, and the generalisability of its results are limited. However, its value lies in its particular orientation towards theory generation, which will assist in the second phase of this study.