Developing primary care research teams: A qualitative interview study in UK general practice

Sara Shaw*, Fraser Macfarlane, Yvonne H. Carter, Louise Letley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Few studies have explored the development of practices as research organisations. This paper reports the findings of a study exploring the development of UK research practices and the impact of practice roles on research. Twenty-eight qualitative interviews were undertaken with research team members in a maximum variety sample of 11 research practices. All interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed and analysed using an adaptation of Framework, a systematic method for qualitative data analysis. Research practice development was influenced by motivations to participate in research and by team roles and activity. General practitioners (GPs) regarded their "research role" as one of generating new knowledge, whereas nurses were motivated by the potential for improving care for their specific patient populations. "Research hierarchies" were revealed in practices hosting research, with GPs often leading decision-making and nurses undertaking much of the groundwork. Lack of coordination across research team/s appeared to hinder development, with shared decision-making helping to foster activity. Tensions were evident in managing the interface between research and other practice roles. Findings raise important issues in relation to assumed practice roles. Role issues must be fully addressed in order for research capacity building to be effective, particularly where the role of nursing is being extended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-31
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Primary care
  • Research practices
  • Research teams
  • Role-related issues
  • United Kingdom


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