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Predictors of future research interest among allied health professionals at a regional tertiary hospital

Tilley Pain, Daniel Lindsay, Malindu Fernando


Introduction: Allied health professionals (AHPs) are core service providers in acute healthcare. AHPs’ career trajectory may be via post-graduate education in clinical, management or research higher degrees. However, little is known of AHP post-graduate education and future research aspirations. This study calculates predictors of future research interest of AHPs at a regional Australian hospital.

Methods: A cross-sectional electronic survey was sent to all AHPs working for the Townsville Hospital Health Service from October 2014 until March 2015. The survey collected information about past, current and future education and research motivating factors. Data was analysed using SPSS (Version 24, IBM Corp, USA). Univariate and multivariate binomial logistic regression analyses were performed with future research interest as the outcome variable. Free-text responses were analysed with content analysis.

Results: Most AHPs (56%) indicated they were interested in research in the future. The significant predictors of an increased likelihood of future research interest in our study cohort were prior master’s or PhD qualification (OR: 4; 95% CI: 1.1–15.6), fewer years since graduation (OR: 0.6, 95% CI: 0.2–1.9), attending research education (OR: 2.9; 95% CI: 1.3–6.6), having a research topic (OR: 4.9; 95% CI: 1.9–13.9) and prior qualitative research experience (OR: 2.4; 95% CI: 1.1–5.5).

Discussion:The predictive factors for future research quantifies allied health research interest for the first time. AHPs in clinical roles within hospital and health services have the potential to derive research questions from ground level clinical practice. Therefore, universities, hospital and health services and policymakers could exploit these predictive factors and strengthen their focus on supporting AHPs’ research education at the level of developing research questions.

Conclusion: Predictors of future allied health research interest included having a research topic, having a master’s or PhD qualification, fewer years since graduation and having prior research education or prior qualitative research experience.


allied health; graduate education; research

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