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Abstract

Purpose: In the context of training health professionals in Switzerland in evidence-based practice, the preconceptions of active researchers might be playing a major role in the development of research methodologies within allied health and nursing professions (AHNP). The objective of this study was to identify the preconceptions (understanding of the meaning of clinical research) of researchers in AHNP at the Health Schools of the University of Applied Sciences, Western Switzerland (UASWS). Emerging theories were then discussed and challenged with available literature and participant profiles. Method: Anonymous semi-directed interviews of 20 researchers (internal and external to the university) arising from various professions, including medical and non-AHNP, were conducted between 2007 and 2008. Results: Preconceptions were grouped into eight categories that were used by 64% of participants (SD 21.8), indicating that the categories worked well in evoking participants’ preconceptions. Categories of themes covering the dimensions of clinical research definition are limits, aim, fields of professional application, professional identity, education, sensitivity of term, associated images, and relevance of a definition. Conclusion: Nurses appear to have specific preconceptions about clinical research. Due to their dominance in terms of number of professionals, they play a determining role in the development of research in AHNP in Switzerland. Researchers in the health division of the UASWS are suffering from a lack of access to experimental research and training in Switzerland. The methodological background experience of researchers seems to play a role in the understanding of clinical research, as from the available results researchers with an experimental background seem to have a larger definition of clinical research. Recommendation: authors recommend the use of the term “patient oriented clinical research” for AHNP when talking about CR.

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