SHAPES: social science approaches for research and engagement in health policy & systems
SHAPES was founded in 2011 when four networks (social science approaches, policy analysis, participatory action research, and realist evaluation) united under one Thematic Group (TWG). The TWG is active as a Google group (i.e. email listserv) and LinkedIn group, where members circulate resources and engage in dialogue on social science issues in HPSR. In addition, SHAPES members collaborate across seven thematic areas.
Thematic areas with SHAPES
Thematic area leads
Prashanth N. S, Arima Mishra, Seye Abimbola
Lucy Gilson and Johanna Hanefeld
Rene Loewenson, Zubin Shroff, Kausar Khan, Walter Flores, B. Kaim, A Zulu, Godelieve van Heteren
Ligia Paina, Joe Varghese, Raman V.R., Chad Swanson
Fadi el Jardali and Devaki Nambiar
Stephanie Topp, Kerry Scott, Veena Sriram and Walter Flores
To strengthen and raise the profile of social science approaches within the wider field of HPSR by:
Engendering a view of HPSR as an evolving science that encompasses multiple forms of social and experiential knowledge and approaches of knowledge generation and application.
Enhancing the relevance of social science theory and knowledge generation for real-world change in health policy & systems, particularly through engagement at the level of communities and frontline health systems with system-wide implementation and policy level implications.
Strengthening the relationship between the production and utilization of knowledge for health systems strengthening, through engagement across diverse constituencies .
Encouraging reflexivity and ethics in HPSR .
Stimulating learning and innovation and helping build research capacities, by assisting in training, exchange of best practices, mentoring and creating opportunities for under-resourced researchers.
Creating virtual and actual spaces for researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to interact, share experiences and collaborate on improving methods, research practices, and research uptake.
While the focus of all of our objectives is global, we particularly recognize the importance of strengthening and raising the profile of social science approaches in the context of low and middle- income countries (LMIC) and of maximizing the involvement of LMIC researchers and research users from diverse backgrounds.
Crowd sourcing activities:
Resource: “Qualitative Textbooks ,” a SHAPES crowd sourcing collaboration, compiled by Asha George (January 2014)
Report: “Exploring how political economy analysis is understood by health policy and system researchers,” a SHAPES crowd sourcing collaboration compiled by Asha George, Crystal Ng, Vincent Okungu, Vera Schattan Coelho and Sara Bennett (May 2014)
“Ten best community engagement resources for implementation research” a SHAPES crowd sourcing collaboration, Douglas Glandon, Olakunle Alonge, Sara Bennett, Ligia Paina, David Peters (in progress)
Fair publication of qualitative research in health systems: a call by health policy and systems researchers by SHaPeS, EQUINET and Emerging Voices for Global Health, Karen Daniels et al. in International Journal for Equity in Health (2016) 15:98.
Series of blog posts on power in HPSR:
Inviting Foucault to Capetown by Kerry Scott (Sept 2014)
Global Health and the Problem of Local Context by Steph Topp (Sept 2014)
Collective Action, Social Media and Health Policy: A new area of HPSR? by Veena Sriram (Sept 2014)
The power dynamics of elite interviewing: methodological issues and considerations by Veena Sriram (February 2016)
Operationalizing power in a study of health policymaking in Niger by Sarah Dalglish (February 2016)
Critiquing resilience in HPSR” by Steph Topp, Kerry Scott, Veena Sriram and Walter Flores (April 2016)
Circulation of monthly literature updates on publications in complexity science and systems thinking to the SHAPES Google group, by Ligia Paina
In collaboration with the Evidence to Policy TWG, participants in the ‘working across constituencies’ thematic areahave conducted an inventory of initiatives on linking research with policy and action.
The leads of ‘theory-driven enquiry’ (Prashanth NS, Seye Abimbola and Arima Mishra) run the @realisteval twitter handle, which recently crossed 400 followers. See https://twitter.com/realisteval
The cluster on participatory action research (PAR) has worked with existing regional research networks using PAR, including EQUINET in Africa and ALAMES in Latin America and interacted with other networks such as COPASAH and PHM, and uses EQUINET’s pra4equity listserve to share information and resources on PAR with global initiatives.
Ongoing efforts to link the SHAPES TWG and the Ethics TWGs, led by Sassy Molyneux, Bridget Pratt and Surekha Garimella.
Publications and Resources
Please contact the group Coordinator, Manu Gupta (manugupta08(at)gmail.com), if you would like to get involved.
We also welcome you to join our SHaPeS LinkedIn group.Join our group