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Research Impact Assessment in Primary Health Care

Primary Health Care Research Impact Project (PHC RIP)

Phase 1 (2006)

The purpose of this project was to develop a way to determine the impact of primary health care research and as part of this aim we trialled the use of the Buxton and Hanney Payback Framework* and their methods of data collection to determine the impact of four nationally funded primary health care projects. The methods proved feasible to assess impact although time consuming and we recommended some modifications to the Payback framework based on our findings. A number of questions were raised about the assessment of research impact which would apply to any model.

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Phase 2 (2007-8)

This study surveyed chief investigators using a web-based questionnaire, based on the Payback Framework*, to gather information on the impact of a larger sample (n=17) of Australian primary health care research projects and how it came about.

Impact was most often reported in areas under the control or influence of the researcher and came about largely through the networks of the research team, professional activities, presentations to policy makers, and the participation of multiple organisations in the research. The study highlighted the role of intermediary organisations as networking hubs and facilitators of the use of research.

Assessing the impact through surveying chief investigators gave a partial view of impact as CIs are not always aware what happens once their research findings are disseminated. Thus assessing impact by surveying CIs leads to a systematic bias and under estimates impact. In future work, consideration should be given to obtaining supplementary information from additional sources.

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Research Team

The PHC RIP research team: A/Prof Elizabeth Kalucy, Eleanor Jackson-Bowers, A/Prof Ellen McIntyre and Prof Richard Reed. Consultant Dr Ann-Louise Hordacre

The project had an Advisory Committee with members from AGPN, AAAGP, APHCRI, NICS, NHMRC and Flinders University.

During 2009 PHCRIS drew on the insights gained during the PHC RIP Stages 1 and 2 in order to develop a tool with which to assess the impact of primary health care research projects and associated resources designed to assist researchers to implement effective strategies to maximise the impact of their research projects.


OTHER Resources on the Assessment of Research Impact

* Payback publications from the Health Economics Research Group, Brunel University

Publications from the Research Unit for Research Utilization, University of St Andrews

Describing the impact of health research: a Research Impact Framework

Making an Impact: A Preferred Framework and Indicators to Measure Returns on Investment in Health Research.

Health Research Evaluation Frameworks An International Comparison

Demonstrating and communicating research impact: Preparing NIOSH Programs for External Review

  • Williams V, Eiseman E, Landree E, Adamson D. (2009). (No. MG-809-NIOSH): National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Safety and Justice Program, RAND Corporation.