Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory Researcher Development Program 2005–07: modest investment, considerable outcomes

Helen E. Cameron A B F , Frances T. Boreland A B , Jocelyn R. Morris A , David M. Lyle A B , David A. Perkins A B , Parker J. Magin C , Melanie J. Marshall D and Nicholas A. Zwar E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Remote Health Research, Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health, PO Box 457, Broken Hill, NSW 2880, Australia.

B Centre of Excellence in Rural and Remote Primary Health Care, PO Box 457, Broken Hill, NSW 2880, Australia.

C Discipline of General Practice, University of Newcastle, Newbolds Building, University Drive, Newcastle NSW 2308, Australia.

D Research Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

E School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email: hcameron@gwahs.health.nsw.gov.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 19(1) 59-67 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY11155
Submitted: 10 August 2011  Accepted: 28 December 2011   Published: 15 February 2012

Abstract

This evaluation of the Researcher Development Program (RDP) in NSW and ACT aimed to determine whether the RDP was effective in assisting novice researchers to undertake primary health care research. In mid-2008, 47 participants of the NSW and ACT RDP during 2005–07 were invited to participate in a postal survey. The survey included questions regarding previous research training and experience, outcomes during and after participation in the program, and organisational aspects of the program. Follow-up interviews were conducted with selected participants. Interview questions covered time in the program, supervision, organisational support and placement outcomes. Thirty-seven participants responded to the survey and 23 (62%) participants took part in the semi-structured interviews. Seventy-eight per cent of survey respondents felt that the RDP helped them move from novice to a more experienced researcher with effective supervision identified by participants as a key element in determining the success of the program. Many felt that time allocation was inadequate and 20% thought their capacity to maintain their workload was adversely affected by participating. Outcomes were considerable given the modest nature of the program. Notable outcomes were that most participants published their research and presented their research at a conference. Furthermore, one-fifth of survey respondents had enrolled in higher degrees. Several interviewees reported that their research led to changes in practice. Most respondents found the RDP valuable and considered that undertaking the program increased their research knowledge.


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