The Development of the Concept ‘Researcher Practitioner Engagement’ and an Investigation of its presence in Nursing, Midwifery and Therapies Research and Practice in the United Kingdom

  • Nikki Daniels

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


A model of healthcare research which is initiated, conducted and disseminated by researchers based in academic environments is perceived to generate evidence which can be irrelevant to frontline practitioners’ needs. In order to address the gap which can then result between what is known from research and what happens in clinical practice, engagement of practitioners in the production of research-derived knowledge is advocated. Analysis of published examples of engagement practices ranged from those which marginalise practitioners’ opportunity to contribute to knowledge production by adopting a hired hand approach through to co-production examples underpinned by principles of equality and power sharing throughout the research process.
A form of engagement was observed which enabled practitioners to contribute to the knowledge production process but was as yet unlabelled or undefined. To address this conceptual gap, Schwartz-Barcott and Kim’s (2000) hybrid model of concept development was adapted to establish the attributes, antecedents and consequences of ‘Researcher Practitioner Engagement’ the thorough analysis of published instances, related concepts and experiences of academic researchers and frontline practitioners. Valuing practitioners’ clinical knowledge from a study’s formative stages and ensuring their clinical perspectives inform problem solving and decision making in study activities, formed the concept’s essence.
Building on this outcome, an online survey investigated the presence of the concept’s components in examples of researcher-initiated engagement with practitioners in the United Kingdom. Despite a low response, behaviours observed highlighted considerations for developing both the concept and the culture of Researcher Practitioner Engagement. This study has contributed to knowledge through publication of reviewed literature, the study findings and novel guidance for researchers planning to use audio-visual technology to conduct focus groups. The conceptual model, produced from the study findings, forms a basis for concept testing and empirical evaluation of engagement practices to further develop an evidence base in this field.
Date of AwardJun 2020
Original languageEnglish
SponsorsDepartment of Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland
SupervisorKaren Casson (Supervisor), Suzanne Mc Donough (Supervisor) & Patricia Gillen (Supervisor)


  • Concept development
  • Practitioner engagement
  • Co-production

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