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Measuring the tail of the dog that doesn't bark in the night: the case of the national evaluation of Choose Life (the national strategy and action plan to prevent suicide in Scotland)

Mackenzie, Mhairi, Blamey, Avril, Halliday, Emma, Maxwell, Margaret, McCollam, Allyson, McDaid, David, MacLean, Joanne, Woodhouse, Amy and Platt, Stephen (2007) Measuring the tail of the dog that doesn't bark in the night: the case of the national evaluation of Choose Life (the national strategy and action plan to prevent suicide in Scotland). BMC Public Health, 7 (146). ISSN 1471-2458

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Abstract

Background Learning about the impact of public health policy presents significant challenges for evaluators. These include the nebulous and organic nature of interventions ensuing from policy directives, the tension between long-term goals and short-term interventions, the appropriateness of establishing control groups, and the problems of providing an economic perspective. An example of contemporary policy that has recently been subject to evaluation is the first phase of the innovative Scottish strategy for suicide prevention (Choose Life). Discussion and summary This paper discusses how challenges, such as those above, were made manifest within this programme. After a brief summary of the overarching approach taken to evaluating the first phase of Choose Life, this paper then offers a set of recommendations for policymakers and evaluators on how learning from a second phase might be augmented. These recommendations are likely to have general resonance across a range of policy evaluations as they move from early planning and implementation to more mature phases.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpublichealth/
Additional Information: © 2007 The Authors; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Sets: Research centres and groups > Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2008 12:59
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/5482/

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