The BARRIERS scale - the barriers to research utilization scale: A systematic reviewReport as inadecuate

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Implementation Science

, 5:32

First Online: 26 April 2010Received: 20 July 2009Accepted: 26 April 2010DOI: 10.1186-1748-5908-5-32

Cite this article as: Kajermo, K.N., Boström, AM., Thompson, D.S. et al. Implementation Sci 2010 5: 32. doi:10.1186-1748-5908-5-32


BackgroundA commonly recommended strategy for increasing research use in clinical practice is to identify barriers to change and then tailor interventions to overcome the identified barriers. In nursing, the BARRIERS scale has been used extensively to identify barriers to research utilization.

Aim and objectivesThe aim of this systematic review was to examine the state of knowledge resulting from use of the BARRIERS scale and to make recommendations about future use of the scale. The following objectives were addressed: To examine how the scale has been modified, to examine its psychometric properties, to determine the main barriers and whether they varied over time and geographic locations, and to identify associations between nurses- reported barriers and reported research use.

MethodsMedline 1991 to September 2009 and CINHAL 1991 to September 2009 were searched for published research, and ProQuest digital dissertations were searched for unpublished dissertations using the BARRIERS scale. Inclusion criteria were: studies using the BARRIERS scale in its entirety and where the sample was nurses. Two authors independently assessed the study quality and extracted the data. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used.

ResultsSixty-three studies were included, with most using a cross-sectional design. Not one study used the scale for tailoring interventions to overcome identified barriers. The main barriers reported were related to the setting, and the presentation of research findings. Overall, identified barriers were consistent over time and across geographic locations, despite varying sample size, response rate, study setting, and assessment of study quality. Few studies reported associations between reported research use and perceptions of barriers to research utilization.

ConclusionsThe BARRIERS scale is a nonspecific tool for identifying general barriers to research utilization. The scale is reliable as reflected in assessments of internal consistency. The validity of the scale, however, is doubtful. There is no evidence that it is a useful tool for planning implementation interventions. We recommend that no further descriptive studies using the BARRIERS scale be undertaken. Barriers need to be measured specific to the particular context of implementation and the intended evidence to be implemented.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1748-5908-5-32 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Kerstin Nilsson Kajermo - Anne-Marie Boström - David S Thompson - Alison M Hutchinson - Carole A Estabrooks - Lars Wall


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