Article Title

Protocol for a meta-narrative review on research paradigms addressing the urban built environment and human health


Background: Urban health is a field of research and practice that has attracted the interest of various disciplines. While it is encouraged for diverse disciplines to contribute to a multidisciplinary field of study such as urban health, this often results in tensions, conflicts or competition between the different traditions that stem from different epistemological backgrounds. This meta-narrative review aims to identify and describe the multiple paradigms and articulate the underlying epistemological, ontological, methodological, and aetiological differences in their approaches. Articulating the paradigms not only contributes to the advancement of research, but also provides a framework for understanding the different policy beliefs and ideas policy actors hold and apply in the policy process.

Methods: We apply the meta-narrative method to systematic literature review which includes the following six iterative phases. The planning phase includes the finalisation of the review protocol and assembly of review team. The search phase includes a comprehensive literature search in key databases and a double-sided systematic snowballing method. We will search multidisciplinary databases including Web of Science, Scopus and ProQuest, and topic specific databases including Urban Studies Abstracts (EBSCO), MEDLINE, and EMBASE from their inception onwards. Bibliometric analyses of this literature will be used to triangulate the mapping of the paradigms. The mapping phase includes identifying the dominant paradigms and landmark publications through agreement with the review team. In the appraisal phase, the literature will be assessed by their respective quality standards, followed by data extraction to identify the individual narratives in the conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and instrumental dimensions of each paradigm. The synthesis phase will review the data to compare and contrast and identify the overarching meta-narratives. The recommendation phase will include dissemination of the findings from the review.

Discussion: The meta-narrative review will reveal the how the different paradigms conceptualise, frame and prioritise urban health issues, their preferred methodologies to study the phenomenon, and the nature of the solutions to improve human health. This review will assist researchers and practitioners in understanding and interpreting evidence produced by other traditions that study urban health. Through this, urban health researchers and practitioners will be able to seek coherence in understanding, explaining, and exploring the urban health phenomenon.

Systematic review registration: Open Science Framework (https://osf/io/tn8vk)


paradigms, urban health, healthy cities, healthy urban planning, health social movements, medical industrial complex, meta-narrative review

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