Quantitative methods used in Australian health promotion research: a review of publications from 1992-2002
Issue addressed: This study examined the use of quantitative methods in Australian health promotion research in order to identify methodological trends and priorities for strengthening the evidence base for health promotion. Methods: Australian health promotion articles were identified by hand searching publications from 1992-2002 in six journals: Health Promotion Journal of Australia, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, Health Promotion International, Health Education Research, Health Education and Behavior and the American Journal of Health Promotion. The study designs and statistical methods used in articles presenting quantitative research were recorded. Results: 591 (57.7%) of the 1,025 articles used quantitative methods. Cross-sectional designs were used in the majority (54.3%) of studies with pre- and post-test (14.6%) and post-test only (9.5%) the next common designs. Bivariate statistical methods were used in 45.9% of papers, multivariate methods in 27.1% and simple numbers and proportions in 25.4%. Few studies used higher-level statistical techniques. Conclusions: While most studies used quantitative methods, the majority were descriptive in nature. The study designs and statistical methods used provided limited scope for demonstrating intervention effects or understanding the determinants of change.
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