Researcher practitioner engagement in health research: The development of a new concept

Nikki Daniels, Patricia Gillen, K. Casson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
88 Downloads (Pure)


The engagement of frontline practitioners in the production of research‐derived
knowledge is often advocated. Doing so can address perceived gaps between what is known from research and what happens in clinical practice. Engagement practices span a continuum, from co‐production approaches underpinned by principles of equality and power sharing to those which can minimalize practitioners' contributions to the knowledge production process. We observed a conceptual gap in published healthcare literature that labels or defines practitioners' meaningful contribution to the research process.
We, therefore, aimed to develop the concept of “Researcher Practitioner Engagement” in the context of academically initiated healthcare research in the professions of nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and speech and language therapy.
Guided by Schwartz‐Barcott et al.'s hybrid model of concept development, published examples were analyzed to establish the attributes, antecedents, and consequences of this type of engagement. Academic researchers (n = 17) and frontline practitioners (n=8) with relevant experience took part in online focus groups to confirm, eliminate, or elaborate on these proposed concept components. Combined analysis of theoretical and focus group data showed that the essence of this form of engagement is that practitioners' clinical knowledge is valued from a study's formative stages. The practitioner's clinical perspectives inform problem‐solving and decision‐making in study activities and
enhance the professional and practice relevance of a study. The conceptual model produced from the study findings forms a basis to guide engagement practices, future concept testing, and empirical evaluation of engagement practices.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberNUR-20-582.R2
Pages (from-to)534-547
Number of pages14
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number3
Early online date28 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the Department for Education and Learning (DEL), Northern Ireland.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Research in Nursing & Health Published by Wiley Periodicals LLC


  • concept formation
  • focus groups
  • practitioner engagement
  • research personnel
  • General Nursing
  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Focus Groups
  • Problem Solving
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Health Services Research
  • Research Personnel
  • Health Personnel
  • Internet


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