Evaluating a team-based aproach to research capacity building using a matched-pairs study design

School of Medicine, Griffith University, University Drive, Meadowbrook, Queensland 4131, Australia.
BMC Family Practice (Impact Factor: 1.67). 03/2012; 13(1):16. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2296-13-16
Source: PubMed


There is a continuing need for research capacity building initiatives for primary health care professionals. Historically strategies have focused on interventions aimed at individuals but more recently theoretical frameworks have proposed team-based approaches. Few studies have evaluated these new approaches. This study aims to evaluate a team-based approach to research capacity building (RCB) in primary health using a validated quantitative measure of research capacity in individual, team and organisation domains.
A non-randomised matched-pairs trial design was used to evaluate the impact of a multi-strategy research capacity building intervention. Four intervention teams recruited from one health service district were compared with four control teams from outside the district, matched on service role and approximate size. All were multi-disciplinary allied health teams with a primary health care role. Random-effects mixed models, adjusting for the potential clustering effect of teams, were used to determine the significance of changes in mean scores from pre- to post-intervention. Comparisons of intervention versus control groups were made for each of the three domains: individual, team and organisation. The Individual Domain measures the research skills of the individual, whereas Team and Organisation Domains measure the team/organisation's capacity to support and foster research, including research culture.
In all three domains (individual, team and organisation) there were no occasions where improvements were significantly greater for the control group (comprising the four control teams, n = 32) compared to the intervention group (comprising the four intervention teams, n = 37) either in total domain score or domain item scores. However, the intervention group had a significantly greater improvement in adjusted scores for the Individual Domain total score and for six of the fifteen Individual Domain items, and to a lesser extent with Team and Organisation Domains (two items in the Team and one in the Organisation domains).
A team-based approach to RCB resulted in considerable improvements in research skills held by individuals for the intervention group compared to controls; and some improvements in the team and organisation's capacity to support research. More strategies targeted at team and organisation research-related policies and procedures may have resulted in increased improvements in these domains.

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Available from: Xanthe A Golenko, Jan 14, 2014
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    • "The extent to which Australian allied health professionals are actually interested, involved and undertaking research activities is largely unknown. The limited research in this field to date has tended to include multiple health professions in each study leading to a small number of individuals representing each profession [7,8], rather than focusing on any one allied health profession in detail. This lack of specific knowledge about the current strengths and weaknesses relating to research engagement within the allied health workforce limits our understanding of what is needed to foster research capacity amongst allied health professions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Recent initiatives within an Australia public healthcare service have seen a focus on increasing the research capacity of their workforce. One of the key initiatives involves encouraging clinicians to be research generators rather than solely research consumers. As a result, baseline data of current research capacity are essential to determine whether initiatives encouraging clinicians to undertake research have been effective. Speech pathologists have previously been shown to be interested in conducting research within their clinical role; therefore they are well positioned to benefit from such initiatives. The present study examined the current research interest, confidence and experience of speech language pathologists (SLPs) in a public healthcare workforce, as well as factors that predicted clinician research engagement. Methods Data were collected via an online survey emailed to an estimated 330 SLPs working within Queensland, Australia. The survey consisted of 30 questions relating to current levels of interest, confidence and experience performing specific research tasks, as well as how frequently SLPs had performed these tasks in the last 5 years. Results Although 158 SLPs responded to the survey, complete data were available for only 137. Respondents were more confident and experienced with basic research tasks (e.g., finding literature) and less confident and experienced with complex research tasks (e.g., analysing and interpreting results, publishing results). For most tasks, SLPs displayed higher levels of interest in the task than confidence and experience. Research engagement was predicted by highest qualification obtained, current job classification level and overall interest in research. Conclusions Respondents generally reported levels of interest in research higher than their confidence and experience, with many respondents reporting limited experience in most research tasks. Therefore SLPs have potential to benefit from research capacity building activities to increase their research skills in order to meet organisational research engagement objectives. However, these findings must be interpreted with the caveats that a relatively low response rate occurred and participants were recruited from a single state-wide health service, and therefore may not be representative of the wider SLP workforce.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · BMC Health Services Research
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    • "Subsequent delays in data collection and analysis also affected the capacity of project teams to publish their work in peer-reviewed journals. Other researchers have suggested a timeframe of 2 years for supporting novice researchers from inception of the project to the manuscript submission stage (Holden et al. 2012). PCHRU distributed the 'Call for Projects' across primary and community health in SWSLHD including through the local Divisions of General Practice and University Departments of General Practice; however, it did not receive any project proposals from GPs. "
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    ABSTRACT: The Primary and Community Health Research Unit was established in 2010 in south-west Sydney to build research capacity in primary and community health services and help generate evidence to underpin clinical activities. In 2011, six project teams participated in a 12-month researcher mentoring program, undertaking projects in quality improvement and service evaluation. Project teams were linked with academic mentors and participated in four research skill development workshops covering research design, research ethics, statistical analysis and academic writing. All project teams presented their work at two or more research conferences, and all are preparing manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals. The Primary and Community Health Research Unit's approach to research capacity building in primary and community health services appears to be effective in supporting novice researchers to undertake research in their clinical settings. Sustainability is dependent on securing ongoing funding. Further analysis is needed to identify strengths and weaknesses of this approach.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Australian Journal of Primary Health
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    • "Individual team members and team leaders completed a self-reported written survey pre and post intervention, and team leaders and senior managers for each team were interviewed pre and post intervention to provide contextual information regarding potential factors that could impact on the outcomes of the intervention. An evaluation of the parent research project can be found in a paper by Holden et al. (2012), “Evaluating a team-based approach to research capacity building using a matched-pairs study design” [16]. However the scope of this paper is confined to the interviews conducted with senior managers at pre-intervention. "
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence-based practice aims to achieve better health outcomes in the community. It relies on high quality research to inform policy and practice; however research in primary health care continues to lag behind that of other medical professions. The literature suggests that research capacity building (RCB) functions across four levels; individual, team, organisation and external environment. Many RCB interventions are aimed at an individual or team level, yet evidence indicates that many barriers to RCB occur at an organisational or external environment level. This study asks senior managers from a large healthcare organisation to identify the barriers and enablers to RCB. The paper then describes strategies for building allied health (AH) research capacity at an organisational level from a senior managers' perspective. This qualitative study is part of a larger collaborative RCB project. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with nine allied health senior managers. Recorded interviews were transcribed and NVivo was used to analyse findings and emergent themes were defined. The dominant themes indicate that the organisation plays an integral role in building AH research capacity and is the critical link in creating synergy across the four levels of RCB. The organisation can achieve this by incorporating research into its core business with a whole of organisation approach including its mission, vision and strategic planning. Critical success factors include: developing a co-ordinated and multidisciplinary approach to attain critical mass of research-active AH and enhance learning and development; support from senior managers demonstrated through structures, processes and systems designed to facilitate research; forming partnerships to increase collaboration and sharing of resources and knowledge; and establishing in internal framework to promote recognition for research and career path opportunities. This study identifies four key themes: whole of organisation approach; structures, processes and systems; partnerships and collaboration; and dedicated research centres, units and positions. These themes form the foundation of a model which can be applied to assist in achieving synergy across the four levels of RCB, overcome barriers and create an environment that supports and facilitates research development in AH.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · BMC Health Services Research
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