Setting research priorities within allied health: What do clinicians think?

Annette Davis, Den-Ching Angel Lee, Lisa-Anabell Wenzel, Terry Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Research activity among allied health clinicians working in publicly funded health care organisations is growing, yet little attention has been paid to how these activities are prioritised. Without a specific framework to guide research direction, it is likely that research will be conducted in areas that are prioritised by individual clinicians. However, it is presently unknown what areas are prioritised by clinicians and the reasoning behind their prioritisation. Purpose: The aims of this study were to explore what clinicians identify to be the highest priority research across personal, department, and health service levels, and the reasons. It also sought to identify barriers and enablers to conducting this research. Methods: Qualitative, cross-sectional survey with n=95 allied health clinician respondents within one organisation. Survey items relating to research priority were structured across three levels. Survey format consisted of open-ended questions and thematic content analysis was used to categorise responses. Results: The highest priority research across personal, departmental and organisational levels were related to areas of personal work, departmental service and models of care evaluation respectively. The top three priorities in all levels combined were “testing solutions”, “understanding problems or developing solutions” and “implementing evidence-based approaches in real life”. The primary reason provided as to why the research was considered to be of the highest priority was related to the anticipated effectiveness of intervention on patient outcomes and the efficiency of service delivery models being investigated. Time shortages/workload/competing priorities were the most frequently identified barriers to conducting this research, while mentoring /access to university partners/organisational culture/leadership and priorities that favoured research were the most frequently identified enablers. Conclusions: Considerations can be taken from our findings to guide the development of a framework or system to prioritise research projects in the publicly funded health care organisation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages13
JournalThe Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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