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Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Exploring strengths and weaknesses in health services research culture and capacity

Nicole Stormon A B * , Peter Lawrenson A C , Ann Rahmann A D , Sally Eames A and Nicole Gavin A E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Queensland Health, Metro North Health, Community and Oral Health, 19th Avenue, Brighton Health Campus, Brighton, Qld 4017, Australia.

B School of Dentistry, Oral Health Centre, The University of Queensland, Herston Road, Brisbane, Qld, Australia.

C School of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland, Services Road, Brisbane, Qld, Australia.

D School of Allied Health, Australian Catholic University, Nudgee Road, Banyo, Qld, Australia.

E School of Nursing and the Metro North Health Nursing and Midwifery Academy, Queensland University of Technology, Herston Road, Brisbane, Qld, Australia.

Australian Health Review 48(1) 82-90
Submitted: 16 November 2023  Accepted: 14 December 2023  Published: 15 January 2024

© 2024 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing on behalf of AHHA.



Fostering a research culture and enhancing research capacity within the workforce is essential for any health service aiming to provide evidence-based care. This study aims to explore the research culture and capacity in a community health service setting and provide a comparison to previous published research in other health service settings.


Participants were invited to complete a survey consisting of demographics and the Research Capacity and Culture (RCC) tool. Median and interquartile ranges were calculated for each RCC item and compared to three Australian and one international comparison.


A total of 73 staff members from Metro North Community and Oral Health service participated. The team-level scores for the RCC were overall the lowest. Comparison to previously published research using the RCC indicated marginally higher scores for individual-level items in our study across all domains. Individual-level items were very weak to weakly correlated with the team and organisation-level RCC items. Strong to very strong correlations were found between a majority of the team and organisation-level items.


Team-level scores were substantially lower when compared to individual and organisational levels. The item ‘team leaders that support research’ was positively correlated with various organisation-level items, indicating that if the respondent perceived the team leader as a low supporter of research the respondent perceived several organisation items also poorly. As an important stakeholder in enabling research in a health service, organisations should investigate the challenges experienced by team leaders in facilitating research and the support or training they may need.

Keywords: clinician researcher, education and training, enablers and barriers, health services, health services research, research capacity and culture, workforce.


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