Enhancing clinician research: A mixed methods study examining Australian and New Zealand specialist trainees’ experiences and research outputs.

  • Stehlik, Paulina (Chief Investigator)
  • Bourke, Rachel (Partner Investigator)
  • Henry, David (Project Roles)
  • Brandenburg, Caitlin (Partner Investigator)
  • Noble, Christy (Partner Investigator)
  • Bannach-Brown , Alexandra (Associate Investigator)
  • Withers, Caitlyn (Associate Investigator)
  • Mickan, Sharon (Associate Investigator)
  • Glasziou, Paul (Associate Investigator)
  • Barnett, Adrian G. (Associate Investigator)
  • Keijzers, Gerben (Associate Investigator)
  • Scott, Ian A. (Associate Investigator)
  • Veysey, Emma (Associate Investigator)
  • Liang, Rhea (Associate Investigator)
  • Nigam, Sonu (Associate Investigator)
  • Pearson, David (Associate Investigator)
  • Ellwood, David (Associate Investigator)
  • Joshi, Hitesh (Associate Investigator)
  • Forrest, Kirsty (Associate Investigator)
  • Morgan, Mark (Associate Investigator)
  • Campbell, Thomas (Associate Investigator)

Project: Research

Project Details


2020 Gold Coast Health Collaborative Research Grant Scheme: $99,052

Plain Language description

High quality healthcare research underpins quality patient care. It asks patient relevant questions and measures meaningful outcomes, uses appropriate study design and statistical analysis, along with open and transparent publishing methods. This enables clinicians to access, understand, and apply the findings to their patients and provide them the best possible care.

However, it has been estimated that up to 85% of all research is of low quality, with poor research questions, inadequate designs and unnecessary duplication, costing ~$100 billion annually. This number is likely even greater as poor research then leads to low-value healthcare, such as unnecessary tests, procedures, and treatments.

There have been international efforts to combat this crisis in research. However, there has been little to no focus on professional medical associations, such as specialty training colleges and their educators. All specialist doctors in Australia are trained through these Colleges, including in research skills and produce ~3,000 new fellows each year.
Our review of 58 Australian and New Zealand specialist medical training colleges and their subspecialty divisions found that, while 55 require trainees to complete a project as their primary method of learning about research, the majority did not require formal research methods training, nor supervision by a research experienced supervisor. This is likely to be counterproductive, placing trainees at risk of conducting poor quality projects and producing fellows that may not appreciate how quality research contributes to positive patient care.
Several other colleges in Australia and overseas have begun to question the value of the current system and have been calling for change. We do too.
This study will inform a larger program of work that aims to improve this research training system and by understanding what is happening in practice; namely the quality of trainee experience and the quality of the research itself.

Project Aims

The proposed study focuses on the outputs of this widely used system of trainee research development, including 1) the quality of trainee experience and 2) the quality of the research itself and will provide baseline measures before any intervention.

The survey phase aims to:
1. Estimate the proportion of trainees who commence and complete a research project during specialty training.
2. Assess the quality of research output including alignment to patient/ health service priority areas, risk of bias assessment, quality of reporting, and the number of reports published in predatory journals.
3. Gain an understanding of trainee satisfaction with their research experience and supervision, including perceived value to their career and patients.
4. Assess trainees’ self-perceived end-of-training research knowledge, skills, and experience.
5. Depending on response rate, we will explore the variation of quality of research output (aim 2) and quality of research experience (aims 3 and 4) across different colleges.

The qualitative interview phase aims to further explore aims 3 and 4, specifically to describe trainee experiences in conducting curriculum mandated projects.
Short titleENHANCE
Effective start/end date11/01/21 → …


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