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Factors influencing junior doctor workplace engagement in research: An Australian study

Dana T Y Phang, Gary D Rogers, Fahid Hashem, Siddharth Sharma, Christy Noble


Introduction: Engaging junior doctors in research can contribute to improved health outcomes, but there is a lack of guidance on how best to support junior doctor research engagement through their workplace experiences. This study aims to identify factors influencing Australian junior doctors’ workplace engagement in research and inform recommendations for building research capacity. 

Methods: This qualitative interview study, using convenience sampling, explored junior doctors’ perceptions and experiences of research engagement. Seventeen junior doctors working at an Australian teaching hospital were interviewed. Data were analysed using the framework method, informed by workplace learning theory. 

Results: Junior doctors found it challenging to engage in research activities and attributed this to the lack of a practice-based curriculum to sequence their learning. They described an absence of workplace affordances for research engagement, including time, research-active clinician mentors and accessible projects. Whilst career progression was one motivator for research engagement, a key motivator was engaging in research contributing to patient care. 

Conclusions: The findings suggested that absence of practice-based curriculum, mentor guidance and engagement in meaningful research activities hampered research engagement. These findings may inform junior doctor research development programs in acute healthcare organisations.


junior doctor; research; workplace learning; residents

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