Leading through building a research culture

Ms Donna Borkowski1,2, Dr Carol McKinstry2, Dr Matthew Cotchett2

1Bendigo Health, Bendigo, Australia, 2La Trobe Rural Health School, Bendigo, Australia



To evaluate the research culture and capacity of allied health professionals in a regional setting, identifying and furthering the understanding of barriers and enablers for research.


A cross-sectional design was used.  Staff in nine allied health disciplines completed an online survey, Research Culture and Capacity tool, which has three domains: individual, team and organisation.


136 participants completed the survey.  There were no statistically significant differences in individual research skills, however there were statistical significant differences in the team and organisation domains between social work and all other disciplines.  Allied health professionals are motivated to conduct research to develop skills, increase job satisfaction and provide a high quality evidence-based service, although overall allied health research culture could be considered low. Barriers to undertake research include lack of time, other work roles taking priority and a lack of research skills.

Significance of the findings to allied health

Current research culture of allied health professionals could be considered low.  Further investment to increase research skills and support for regional allied health professionals is needed using multi-layered strategies including collaborative research relationships and positions.  To improve research culture, barriers need to be addressed and research leadership strengthened to increase translation of evidence into practice and ultimately community health outcomes.