Considerations for establishing a research network for allied health in the Australian Capital Territory : closing the research-practice gap

  • Peter John Lisacek

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Background The research practice gap (RPG) is resulting in sub optimal health outcomes, unnecessary services and wasted expenditure. There is limited evidence for effective interventions to address this gap. This thesis is in response to a request to formulate evidence based recommendations about how to develop a research network (RN) and knowledge translation (KT) in Allied Health (AH) to facilitate research and reduce the RPG. Objectives The aim of this study was to identify current evidence and main issues, obtain feedback from key stakeholders and formulate recommendations relevant to the development of an AH RN and KT in AH in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) to facilitate research and reduce the RPG. Methods Evidence was obtained from two sources. Firstly, a rapid review of the literature was undertaken to identify current evidence and key issues pertaining to the development of a RN and KT. Secondly, we conducted semi structured and focus group interviews and an on line survey collecting both qualitative and quantitative data. The data were then analysed using thematic analysis and SPSS Software. Results While there was a wealth of literature on RNs in health there was limited information in the literature about the effectiveness of RNs and KT strategies particularly in AH. However, interviews undertaken with key stakeholders and an on line survey produced a rich deposit of data. The main finding was that limited time and competing priorities were the most significant issues that prevented involvement in developing a research network and in knowledge translation, despite research being highly valued. There was an indication that collaboration was very important, in particular between researchers and practitioners and also between and within AH professions. Other strategies identified as important were the need for funding to support the network particularly including a coordinator, to directly involve all AH professions and to operate on a ‘virtual’ basis, in addition, to seek support from leadership, to involve consumers, to implement mentorship and knowledge brokers, to change established practice and to complete development of the RN within two years. Conclusions The data collated has added to the current limited knowledge base. A review of the literature and consultation with key stakeholders indicated that the key strategies that can assist with the development of a RN and KT in AH in the ACT were addressing limited time and competing priorities, enhancing collaboration and obtaining funding support. It is also recommended that the RN should aim to create new knowledge but primarily focus on KT. The RN should directly involve all AH professions driven by a coordinator. This is a challenging task but offers significant potential benefits in particular the implementation of health evidence.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRachel Davey (Supervisor), Jennie Scarvell (Supervisor) & Gordon Waddington (Supervisor)

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