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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Complexity theory as an approach to explanation in healthcare: A critical discussion
Authors: Paley, John
Eva, Gail
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Keywords: Cancer
Social theory
Issue Date: Feb-2011
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Paley J & Eva G (2011) Complexity theory as an approach to explanation in healthcare: A critical discussion, International Journal of Nursing Studies, 48 (2), pp. 269-279.
Abstract: The reception of complexity theory in health care is characterised by a tendency to reify the idea of a complex system, which is basically an abstraction. This paper argues for three principal theses: first, to invoke complexity, to refer to complex systems, is to proffer a form of explanation; second, in the context of the social sciences, the form of explanation that complexity represents belongs to a family of explanations which the recent theoretical literature associates with social mechanisms; and, third, complexity explanations refer to a specific type of social mechanism, whose features differentiate it from the other members of the family. The most significant of these features is the jettisoning of the default link between order and design, which is precisely the principle omitted by an influential series of papers in the BMJ. Having defended these claims, the paper presents a brief case study illustrating the analysis.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author; you can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: HS Health - Stirling
University of Oxford

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