Work Package 3 (WP3) aims to provide the methodological underpinning of natural experiments conducted within the Places & communities theme as well the Children, young people & families and Public mental health themes, and, while doing so, also provide new practical Guidance for local and national public health practitioners on when (and when not) to conduct natural experiments, how they could be designed, what different methods are available for analyses, and how the results of these place-based natural experiments should be interpreted. Moreover, the new Guidance will link natural experiments to recent developments around systems thinking in public health.
WP3 is divided in three workpackages;
In WP3.1 a scoping review will be conducted to provide an overview of the evaluation of natural experiments in public health, including contexts and designs and statistical methodological considerations. This scoping review will directly input into the work in WPs 3.2 and 3.3.
In WP3.2 the new practical Guidance for the use design and analysis of natural experiments in public health will be co-developed and co-produced with practitioners working at the national and local levels.
In WP3.3 the new practical Guidance (WP3.2) and evidence synthesis from the scoping review (WP3.1) will be used to analyse (in parallel to the analyses proposed by the project PIs) evaluations of natural experiments conducted in work package 2 of work stream A, the food and transport themes in work stream B, and in evaluations of natural experiments conducted in the Public mental health and Children, young people & families programmes.
The envisioned outputs of WP3 are most importantly the SPHR practical Guidance for natural experiments will be made available for free to stakeholders as an online downloadable document. In addition, we further propose to submit manuscripts to open access peer-reviewed journals about the scoping review and the analyses of the different evaluations of natural experiments. Further dissemination will be through the presentation of this project at conferences for public health academia and practice.