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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910

Abstract

CABRERA ARANA, Gustavo Alonso. Use of theories and models on papers of a Latin-American journal in public health, 2000 to 2004. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.41, n.6, pp. 963-969. ISSN 0034-8910.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102007000600011.

OBJECTIVE: To characterize frequency and type of use of theories or models on papers of a Latin-American journal in public health between 2000 and 2004. METHODS: The Revista de Saúde Pública was chosen because of its history of periodic publication without interruption and current impact on the scientific communication of the area. A standard procedure was applied for reading and classifying articles in an arbitrary typology of four levels, according to the depth of the use of models or theoretical references to describe problems or issues, to formulate methods and to discuss results. RESULTS: Of 482 articles included, 421 (87%) were research studies, 42 (9%) reviews or special contributions and 19 (4%) opinion texts or assays . Of 421 research studies, 286 (68%) had a quantitative focus, 110 (26%) qualitative and 25 (6%) mixed. Reference to theories or models is uncommon, only 90 (19%) articles mentioned a theory or model. According to the depth of the use, 29 (6%) were classified as type I, 9 (2%) as type II, 6 (1.3%) were type III and the 46 remaining texts (9.5%) were type IV. CONCLUSIONS: Reference to models was nine-fold more frequent than the use of theoretical references. The ideal use, type IV, occurred in one of every ten articles studied. It is of relevance to show theoretical and models frames used when approaching topics, formulating hypothesis, designing methods and discussing findings in papers.

Keywords : Journal article; Epidemiologic models; Models, statistical; Mathematical models; Models, Theoretical; Review.

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