Writing a manuscript for publication: An action research study with allied health practitioners


  • Desley Harvey Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service; College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia
  • Ruth Barker College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia
  • Elizabeth Tynan Graduate Research School, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia




allied health personnel, publishing, writing, manuscripts, research support


Introduction: Writing a manuscript for publication is a challenge for those health practitioners whose primary role is to provide clinical services. The aim of this study was to increase the capacity of allied health practitioners who are employed in a clinical setting to submit manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Methods: An action research study design was used to develop a “Writing for Publication” program for nine allied health practitioners who had not previously published a manuscript as lead author. Between May and November 2018, at a regional public hospital service, three 90-minute writing workshops were offered, which included manuscript plan and preparation guide, academic writing instruction, peer review and mentoring by experienced researchers. Data were collected using participant pre- and post-program surveys, post-workshop focus groups and facilitator reflections.

Results: All participants reported that their writing skills had improved. Enablers to completing a manuscript for publication included structured preparation, mentoring, training in academic writing skills, protected writing time and external accountability. Challenges included not knowing where or how to start, competing priorities and distractions within and outside of work hours, inadequate academic writing skills and loss of momentum. Two participants submitted their manuscripts for publication by the end of the study and a further manuscript was submitted by the time of writing.

Conclusions: Strategies to ensure publication of allied health practitioner research findings need to be integrated into project planning and monitoring processes embedded within a well-supported health service-wide research culture.

Author Biographies

Desley Harvey, Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service; College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia

Health Practitioner Research Fellow, Cairns and Hinterland Hopsital and Health Service, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Ruth Barker, College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia

Associate Professor Rehabilitation, College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook Univeristy, Queensland, Australia

Elizabeth Tynan, Graduate Research School, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia

Associate Professor, Graduate Research School, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia


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How to Cite

Harvey, D., Barker, R., & Tynan, E. (2020). Writing a manuscript for publication: An action research study with allied health practitioners. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 21(2), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.11157/fohpe.v21i2.397