Social research


Social issues cover a myriad of often intertwined social, economic, cultural, behavioural, health policy and health system-related factors. They can affect the transmission of infectious diseases and lead to unequal disease distribution. Moreover, they also shape how populations access health technologies and systems.

Understanding and addressing social issues improves public health, healthcare delivery, and the design and uptake of new interventions and tools – whether by health and science professionals (e.g. the use of a new diagnostic method) or by the community, such as with the use of insecticide-treated bed nets.

Current topics in global health include: equitable access to healthcare, gender-responsive interventions (interventions where norms, roles and inequalities relating to gender have been taken into account and addressed), social and environmental determinants of health, health systems strengthening, community-directed interventions, social development goals, primary healthcare and universal health coverage. These issues call for major engagement in various forms of applied research for public health, i.e. social, intervention and implementation research.

TDR related research

TDR has supported research on this topic since 1978. An article on TDR’s track record on this topic can be found at:

Social research is embedded throughout TDR work. Current social research work is being conducted in:

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Featured publications

All TDR publications on social research