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Understanding research

Want to know more about the world of primary health care research? This collection of Guides focusses on research in the primary health care context, assisting you to better understand how and why it is important.

To improve primary health care (PHC) systems and delivery, it is important to understand the needs and priorities of those accessing, as well as those providing, care. Research conducted in the PHC environment is well placed to do exactly this, to pose questions and propose solutions that can make a difference. In Australia, this is often achieved through Practice-based research networks (PBRNs), groups of practices forming a network with the objective of asking and answering questions that arise from daily practice. In this way, a wealth of research data can be generated using different research models, and with applicability to a cross-section of the community, or to smaller groups with specific needs who may be under-represented in a single practice.

Insights and experience of the PHC researcher can also be used to guide development of health care policies to address current and future needs. When new policies and practices are implemented, it is in the ‘real world’ that the true impact or otherwise of these can be seen. The PHC researcher is able to gather knowledge on barriers and facilitators that can be used to optimise health care. To contribute to this, the PHC researcher needs to understand the role and impact of research in policy.

If you would like to know more about PHC research and why it is important please explore the below collection.

Guides in this collection

Introduction to... Critical appraisal of literature

Explains what critical appraisal is, why it is useful, and tools with which to do it.

Introduction to... Data mapping in primary health

Mapping is an important means of tracking Australian primary health care and identifying gaps in service provision and areas for improvement. This Guide outlines the importance of mapping to tracking Australian primary health care data and contains information and resources for using a geographic i…

Introduction to... Different research models

Clarifying what research is and providing you with definitions for the many research types.

Introduction to... Evaluation

Contains the purposes of evaluation, definitions, glossary of terms, electronic discussion lists and the guidelines for conducting evaluations

Introduction to... Longitudinal studies

Containing information about Australian primary health care longitudinal studies, definitions of longitudinal studies, its disadvantages and advantages, information for those wanting to conduct a longitudinal study as well as information on how to access the databases and findings of such studies

Introduction to... Practice-Based Research Networks

Contains definitions, aims and literature about Practice-Based Research Networks as well as a list of Practice-Based Research Networks in Australia

Introduction to... Research ethics

Containing guidelines and relevant articles relating to ethical health research as well as highlighting Australian research focusing on ethical issues

Introduction to... Research impact on policy

Researchers and policy makers bring different perspectives to the policy making process. This Guide outlines some key issues for researchers to consider when influencing policy development.