Upstream journeys in public behaviour change


May 11, 2022

Simpson’s paradox

Sometimes the reality may not be what we see; it can even be the opposite unless we do not look at it as a paradox. Simpson’s paradox occurs when we interpret data.

duck - rabbit illusion
What you see may not be true
(Wikimedia Commons)

Although Simpson, a statistician, described it in 1951, we fall into this data interpretation trap all the time.

It happened with COVID19 too. In short, if we look only at the final aggregate result of a dataset, we may find that the reality is the complete opposite when we disaggregate by some common characteristics such as age, gender, or another decision-making variable.

Read more…


May 3, 2022

Spin in other words twisting, in research reporting is common. It misleads readers by painting an inaccurate picture that research design does not warrant.

drops of water on a glass screen

An umbrella in combating false information

Coursera has brought the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health course on the above subject. It is free and takes only about two hours to complete. This post summarises its contents, particularly module 2 and 4; those modules educates us on how to deal with false information in common scenarios.


December 19, 2021

Irving Zola’s “upstream-downstream” story has travelled a very long way. This post curates its journey through the published articles that explored its impact on public health narratives.


Published December 2, 2021

The image depicts a river naming upstream, midstream, and downstream.

Irving Zola’s upstream-downstream parable (or the metaphor) is a public health classic. He narrated a story of saving drowning individuals one by one; he spends all his time on that endeavour and laments the lack of time to search why so many people come downstream. This journey searches how public health organizations use this metaphor;


The image depicts a road with white and yellow lines in the middle as nudges

The “opt-out” default option becomes one of the most effective nudge strategies. It has brought many significant behaviour changes in all areas of our lives.

Do you want to know more about nudging?


Ottawa charter logo

The legendary Ottawa Charter for health promotion has travelled around the world for 30 years from 1986 to 2016.


Paulo Freire

Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educationalist revolutionized adult education principles; these are still popular.