Public health reasoning: Much more than deduction

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Abstract

The deductive paradigm has produced notable successes in epidemiology and public health. But while deductive logic has made a substantial contribution to the public health field, it must be recognized that there are also limits to that contribution. This report examines one such limit: the need for non-deductive models in public health reasoning. The findings of a study of public health reasoning in 879 members of the public are reported. Four non-deductive strategies were chosen for their capacity to bridge gaps in one’s knowledge. It emerged that subjects were adept at using these strategies in the absence of knowledge to arrive at judgements about public health problems. The implications of this finding for public health communication are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalArchives of Public Health
Volume71
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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