Difference between Intervention and System Research

Difference between Intervention and System Research

The commonly used types of research in public health include the intervention and system research. The two types of research are distinct as they bear certain differences that are worth noting. In essence, this discussion aims to demonstrate the variability between the intervention and system research. Besides, the identification of the role played by system research is also another center of focus.

Primarily, intervention research refers to all types of inquiry that aims at developing new strategies that will increase the availability of already existing or new interventions for the population in need. It mainly targets to benefit the local community but may at times improve the situation in a broader context (Remme et al., 2010). On the other hand, systems research majorly targets to address the problems, which are not disease-specific, affecting the health system as a whole. In this type of research, the area of focus is in the wider context of health that includes health financing, policy, and governance. As such, its application is in a broader context as compared to intervention research (Remme et al., 2010). Clearly, from these instances, it is beyond doubt that intervention and system research are two distinct types of research.

Public health advancements that depict the two types of research are also worth mention to enhance clarity on the two types of research. A case in point of a public health accomplishment that owes its success to intervention research is the introduction of vaccines to protect the people from diseases (Remme et al., 2010). On the contrary, the multidisciplinary approach undertaken by the international bodies such as WHO to address the challenge of the H5N1 Avian Influenza outbreak is a befitting example of the system research.

Lastly, the role of system research and integration of system theory for public health programs within the community-based organizations is also of the essence in the understanding of this subject. According to Leischow and Milstein, (2006) an inclusion of the system approach within community agencies has the role of strengthening relationships with personnel from different disciplines. Consequently, this harnesses their efforts into one force that can end complex public health challenges that could not be easy or even possible without this approach. As such, the role of system research is to promote multidisciplinary collaboration, which is vital in addressing public health issues.

In closure, it is indeed clear that intervention and system approaches are distinct and have different roles to play. However, an integration of the two is of utmost significance given that some issues are better handled using the intervention research rather than system way of thinking. As such, going into the future, public health professionals must determine the suitability of each in different situations so that they can use them appropriately handle challenges within this profession promptly.


Leischow, S. J., & Milstein, B. (2006). Systems thinking and modeling for public health practice.

Remme, J., Adam, T., Becerra-Posada, F., D’arcangues, C., Devlin, M., Gardner, C., Ghaffar, A., Hombach, J., Kengeya, J. F. K., Mbewu, A., Mbizvo, M. T., Mirza, Z., Pang, T., Ridley, R. G., Zicker, F.,& Terry, R. F., (2010). Defining Research to Improve Health Systems. Plos Medicine, 7(11), e1001000. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001000