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Building capacity to use and undertake research in health organisations: a survey of training needs and priorities among staff
  1. Helen Barratt,
  2. Naomi J Fulop
  1. Department of Applied Health Research, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Helen Barratt; h.barratt{at}ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

Objectives Efforts to improve healthcare and population health depend partly on the ability of health organisations to use research knowledge and participate in its production. We report the findings of a survey conducted to prioritise training needs among healthcare and public health staff, in relation to the production and implementation of research, across an applied health research collaboration.

Design A questionnaire survey using a validated tool, the Hennessy-Hicks Training Needs Assessment Questionnaire. Participants rated 25 tasks on a five-point scale with regard to both their confidence in performing the task, and its importance to their role.

Setting A questionnaire weblink was distributed to a convenience sample of 35 healthcare and public health organisations in London and South East England, with a request that they cascade the information to relevant staff.

Participants 203 individuals responded, from 20 healthcare and public health organisations.

Interventions None.

Outcome measures Training needs were identified by comparing median importance and performance scores for each task. Individuals were also invited to describe up to three priority areas in which they require training.

Results Across the study sample, evaluation; teaching; making do with limited resources; coping with change and managing competing demands were identified as key tasks. Assessing the relevance of research and learning about new developments were the most relevant research-related tasks. Participants’ training priorities included evaluation; finding, appraising and applying research evidence; and data analysis. Key barriers to involvement included time and resources, as well as a lack of institutional support for undertaking research.

Conclusions We identify areas in which healthcare and public health professionals may benefit from support to facilitate their involvement in and use of applied health research. We also describe barriers to participation and differing perceptions of research between professional groups.

  • Knowledge translation
  • Evidence use
  • Research participation
  • Training

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Footnotes

  • Contributors HB conducted the analysis. HB wrote the paper. NJF revised the paper for important intellectual content. HB and NJF designed the survey, read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care North Thames at Barts Health NHS Trust. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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