This study determined if research experience increased among allied health professionals (AHPs) at a regional tertiary hospital following a research capacity building initiative.


A cross sectional electronic survey was used to collect data from allied health professionals on their research experience, research support needs, enablers and barriers to research and their perceptions regarding benefits of research. A baseline survey was conducted in 2011 which was compared to a follow up survey in 2015. Comparison of variables between the two surveys used Chi squared tests.


The response rate for the 2011 survey was 43% (n=248) while the 2015 survey achieved a 37% response rate (n=234). There was a significant increase in allied health professionals research experience as well as need for research support between the 2011 and 2015 surveys in many (but not all) activities on the research continuum. Time availability was the greatest barrier and the perceived benefit of research was to improve clinical care.


This study demonstrates a significant increase in allied health professionals research experience over the four years of capacity building. However, the increase has not reached the level where it is recorded by traditional research outcome measures such as publication. The greatest barrier to allied health professionals conducting research is time. Therefore, investment in clinician-researcher career pathways may increase research capacity of allied health practitioners to increase publication output. The implication of this research is that allied professionals’ research profile is unlikely to increase without significant input of time or resources to allow them to conduct research.

Author Bio(s)

Tilley Pain, Medical Laboratory Scientist, PhD.Tilley is the research fellow for allied health professionals at a regional tertiary hospital in Australia.

Michelle Petersen, Speech Pathologist. Michelle is a senior speech pathologist now working in private practice.

Malindu Fernando, Podiatrist, PhD. Mal is a podiatrist with a specific interest in high risk diabetic foot.


We would like to acknowledge the Health Practitioner staff of Townsville Hospital and Health Service for participating in the survey, to Karen Phillips, Director of Allied Health for hosting the Research Officers (MF, MP) and to the THHS Study Education and Research Trust Account (SERTA) for funding the project.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.