Volunteering for the Commonwealth Games: what can realist synthesis contribute to health policy making?

Cunningham, Anna P. (2016) Volunteering for the Commonwealth Games: what can realist synthesis contribute to health policy making? PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3153421


The aim of this thesis was to investigate, using the real-time test case of the 2014
Commonwealth Games, whether the realist synthesis methodology could contribute
to the making of health policy in a meaningful way. This was done by looking at
two distinct research questions: first, whether realist synthesis could contribute
new insights to the health policymaking process, and second, whether the 2014
Commonwealth Games volunteer programme was likely to have any significant,
measurable, impact on health inequalities experienced by large sections of the
host population.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy laid out ambitious plans for the event, in
which it was anticipated that it would provide explicit opportunities to impact
positively on health inequalities. By using realist synthesis to unpick the theories
underpinning the volunteer programme, the review identifies the population subgroups
for whom the programme was likely to be successful, how this could be
achieved and in what contexts.
In answer to the first research question, the review found that while realist
methods were able to provide a more nuanced exposition of the impacts of the
Games volunteer programme on health inequalities than previous traditional
reviews had been able to provide, there were several drawbacks to using the
method. It was found to be resource-intensive and complex, encouraging the
exploration of a much wider set of literatures at the expense of an in-depth grasp
of the complexities of those literatures.
In answer to the second research question, the review found that the Games were, if anything, likely to exacerbate health inequalities because the programme was
designed in such a way that individuals recruited to it were most likely to be those
in least need of the additional mental and physical health benefits that Games
volunteering was designed to provide. The following thesis details the approach
taken to investigate both the realist approach to evidence synthesis and the
likelihood that the 2014 Games volunteer programme would yield the expected

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Supervisor's Name: Mackenzie, Prof. Mhairi
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7305
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 May 2016 12:57
Last Modified: 26 May 2016 07:56
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7305

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