Perspectives of Allied Health clinicians on research: informing intervention to build research capacity

Ms Lauren Hammond1, Professor Stacey George1,2, Ms Linda Nimmo1, Ms Sandra Parr1

1Northern Adelaide Local Health Network- Allied Health, Elizabeth, Australia, 2Flinders University, Caring Futures Institute, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Bedford Park, Australia

Allied health professionals (AHPs) have been found to be generally ‘research emergent’ with a low research culture. Benefits of AHPs engaging in research include improved efficiencies in service delivery and patient outcomes, as well as skill development and career advancement. Building AHP capacity to undertake research is an international priority. A gap exists in the literature related to AHPs perspectives of research culture and capacity to develop evidence informed approaches to build research capacity in practice.

Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with AHPs within the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN), Adelaide, South Australia to explore clinicians’ perspectives regarding the current state of research culture and capacity in terms of facilitators, barriers and potential solutions.

17 interviews were conducted with AHP (level 1-6) including dietetics, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, social work, and speech pathology.

Key themes constructed from the data included (1) a developing research culture; (2) research valued for both service and staff development; (3) ‘Research needs to be rebranded’: a need to improve transparency and reduce fear of the unknown; and (4) recommendations for future change (including individualised support and increased visibility and dissemination of research projects within the division).

Findings illustrate a research culture that is developing within AHPs at NALHN, with considerations for ongoing improvement. Despite a sense of ‘not knowing where to begin’, participants reported valuing research and shared recommendations for improving culture and capacity. These findings will inform a future intervention to build research capacity within the NALHN Allied Health division.


Lauren Hammond is a senior speech pathologist working within the acute services team with NALHN with experience in the assessment and management of adult swallowing disorders. She recently completed an Honours degree in Health Sciences from Flinders University, exploring nurse and speech pathologist perceptions of oral care management in the acute stroke setting. She holds a research support officer position within NALHN and has an ongoing interest in knowledge translation approaches and the development of interdisciplinary practice.

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