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Evaluation of the research capacity and culture of allied health professionals in a large regional public health service

Authors Matus J, Wenke R, Hughes I, Mickan S

Received 29 June 2018

Accepted for publication 2 November 2018

Published 14 January 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 83—96


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Janine Matus,1 Rachel Wenke,1 Ian Hughes,1 Sharon Mickan1,2

1Allied Health, Gold Coast Health, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia; 2School of Allied Health Sciences, Griffith University, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia

Purpose: The first aim of this study was to evaluate the current research capacity and culture among allied health professionals (AHPs) working in a large regional health service. The second aim of this study was to undertake principal component analyses (PCAs) to determine key components influencing our research capacity and culture.
Patients and methods: As part of a cross-sectional observational study, the Research Capacity and Culture (RCC) tool was administered to AHPs working in Gold Coast Health to measure self-reported research capacity and culture across Organization, Team, and Individual domains, including barriers to and motivators for performing research. An exploratory PCA was performed to identify key components influencing research capacity and culture in each of the three domains, and the results were compared with the findings of a previous study performed in a large metropolitan health district.
Results: This study found moderate levels of research capacity and culture across all domains, with higher scores (median, IQR) reported for the Organization domain (7,5–8) compared to the Team (6,3–8) and Individual domains (5,2–7). Two components were identified in each domain. Components in the Organization domain included “research culture” and “research infrastructure”; components in the Team domain included “valuing and sharing research” and “supporting research”; and components in the Individual domain included “skills for conducting research” and “skills for searching and critiquing the literature”. These components were found to be highly correlated with each other, with correlations between components within each domain ranging from 0.459 to 0.702.
Conclusion: The results of this study reinforce the need for an integrated “whole of system” approach to research capacity building. Ongoing investment in tailored support and infrastructure is required to maintain current areas of strengths and build on identified areas of weakness at the level of organizations, teams, and individual AHPs, and consideration should also be given as to how support across these three levels is integrated.

Keywords: research culture, infrastructure, organization, team, individual

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