A systematic review of collaboration and network research in the public affairs literature: implications for public health practice and research

Am J Public Health. 2012 Mar;102(3):564-71. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300286. Epub 2011 Nov 28.


Objectives: We explored and analyzed how findings from public affairs research can inform public health research and practice, specifically in the area of interorganizational collaboration, one of the most promising practice-based approaches in the public health field.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review of the public affairs literature by following a grounded theory approach. We coded 151 articles for demographics and empirical findings (n = 258).

Results: Three primary findings stand out in the public affairs literature: network structure affects governance, management strategies exist for administrators, and collaboration can be linked to outcomes. These findings are linked to priorities in public health practice.

Conclusions: Overall, we found that public affairs has a long and rich history of research in collaborations that offers unique organizational theory and management tools to public health practitioners.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Public Health Practice*
  • Public Relations*
  • Research*