On becoming a practitioner-researcher in remote northern Australia: Personal commitment and resources compensate for structural deterrents to research

Anne Cusick, Natasha Lannin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Aim. This study critically explores the experience of one clinician who developed the practitioner-researcher role in a remote hospital. Participant. One occupational therapist working in rehabilitation who had never previously done or been trained for research but who completed and published a randomized controlled trial. Setting. Government hospital rehabilitation ward in remote northern Australia. Method. Data from a reflective journal and project records were content analysed using a conceptual framework of the metropolitan practitioner-researcher experience. Results. The participant's experience was similar to that of metropolitan practitioner-researchers as it was not just a matter of doing research, but rather one of role change from practitioner to researcher. The remote context created structural conditions that discouraged and hindered research and made the task of researcher role development challenging with high personal costs. Research deterrents included a lack of: Research-related infrastructure (such as information technology), research development policy, research accommodations in job descriptions, dedicated funding to support research time release and training, and research support networks. These deterrents were a consequence of the remote setting. Investment of substantial personal time, money and use of pro bono city research advisers was required to compensate for structural deterrents to ensure project completion. Conclusion. Researcher role development was central to project success, the remote context dominated role development processes and personal resources were needed to compensate for structural research deterrents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1984-1998
Number of pages15
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Allied health
  • Northern Australia
  • Practitioner-research
  • Research development

Cite this