Research In Primary Care: Extent Of Involvement And Perceived Determinants Amongst Uk Practitioners From One English Region.

Jowett S, Wilson S and Hobbs R.
University of Birmingham, Birmingham (United Kingdom).
Introduction. The importance of evidence based general practice as the foundation of a primary care led NHS has been highlighted recently by national strategy documents. However, very little has been published on the extent or determinants of research activity by UK primary care doctors. This makes it difficult to identify an appropriate group to target when attempting to encourage additional general practitioners (GPs) to participate in research.
Methods. A questionnaire survey was mailed to all general practitioners in the West Midlands Region (n=2770). Information collected. from the survey included research activity and experience, together with GP and practice details. This information was subsequently analysed using logistic regression to model the characteristics which could identify research active GPs.
Results. The final response rate was 49% (n=1351). 84% of respondents reported participation in research or audit and 16% (218) had initiated their own research at some time. Characteristics positively associated with initiating research were identified and included involvement in teaching, having research active partners, availability of protected time and larger practice size. The use of logistic regression to predict GP research behaviour could not generate a model with good discriminatory power to target a specific group of GPs. The final model only correctly identified 30% of research active GPs.
Conclusions. The extent of research activity amongst responding primary care doctors is greater than is often assumed. There appears to be some factors influencing participation, but the high level of variation amongst GPs prevents the model successfully predicting research behaviour.
Research in primary care: extent of involvement and perceived determinants amongst UK practitioners from one English region.