Engagement of nursing, midwifery and therapy practitioners by academic researchers; a scoping review

Nikki Daniels, Patricia Mackin (now Gillen), K. Casson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background: Involving healthcare practitioners in the research process is widely advocated. Merging scientific and clinical expertise is believed to contribute to bridging the gap that often exists between research and practice. However little is known about if and how academic researchers engage practitioners in their research endeavours.
Method: A scoping review was carried out to explore if and how academic researchers have engaged with practitioners in studies and to identify the type, range and extent of reporting. CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsychInfo and Web of Science were searched from 2000 to 2018 to identify relevant publications which described or evaluated the engagement of nursing, midwifery or therapy practitioners by an academic researcher.
Findings: Evidence of engagement was found in 23 papers which met the inclusion criteria. The majority (n=14) empirically evaluated practitioners’ experiences in a publication supplementary to the original study. Researchers’ perspectives were reported descriptively (n=7). The stage of the research process in which practitioners engaged was variable across examples but in most practitioners were engaged in just one aspect such as recruitment, data collection or intervention delivery. Little evidence was found of researchers engaging practitioners in all aspects of the research process. Outcomes of evaluations and descriptive accounts centred around the challenges and enablers of engagement with some subjective reporting on factors which may impact the research practice gap.
Conclusions: Although this review evidences engagement of practitioners by academic researchers in their studies, reporting is limited and heterogeneous. Evaluations and descriptive reflections offer insight into barriers and challenges and suggest changes to practice can be achieved. There is however need for a greater culture of reporting, evaluation and theoretical underpinning of this activity to build evidence and guide practice for claims that engagement of practitioners can bridge the research practice gap to be asserted.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2018
EventFestival of PhD Research - Jordanstown campus University of Ulster, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Jun 20186 Jun 2018


ConferenceFestival of PhD Research
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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