Evaluating Health Promotion in Schools: A Contextual Action-Oriented Research Approach

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Creating system-wide change in the school setting is challenging, since schools can be considered as complex adaptive systems. It implies a need for a more context-specific approach. To align the research of school health promotion with this complexity, the principles of action research have been adapted into a contextual action-oriented research approach (CARA). The basic properties of CARA are its specific focus on contextual differences and the use of monitoring and reflective feedback to both support and evaluate the process of change. CARA has been applied as a research approach to study the process and effects of a Dutch Health Promoting School initiative. This CARA-based evaluation has provided insights into how to successfully integrate health promotion in a specific context and how the effects interact with this context. Moreover, applying CARA has contributed to a better understanding of how to evaluate a health promotion initiative while dealing with a complex adaptive system, and it has provided insights into the consequences for research and researchers. Overall, CARA provides a solution to align the health promotion research with new insights into complex systems thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Handbook of Health Promotion Research
Subtitle of host publicationMapping Health Promotion Research
EditorsLouise Potvin, Didier Jourdan
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-97212-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-97211-0
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

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