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BMC Health Services Research

, 10:168

First Online: 16 June 2010Received: 07 December 2009Accepted: 16 June 2010DOI: 10.1186-1472-6963-10-168

Cite this article as: Cummings, G.G., Hutchinson, A.M., Scott, S.D. et al. BMC Health Serv Res 2010 10: 168. doi:10.1186-1472-6963-10-168


BackgroundResearch utilization investigators have called for more focused examination of the influence of context on research utilization behaviors. Yet, up until recently, lack of instrumentation to identify and quantify aspects of organizational context that are integral to research use has significantly hampered these efforts. The Alberta Context Tool ACT was developed to assess the relationships between organizational factors and research utilization by a variety of healthcare professional groups. The purpose of this paper is to present findings from a pilot study using the ACT to elicit pediatric and neonatal healthcare professionals- perceptions of the organizational context in which they work and their use of research to inform practice. Specifically, we report on the relationship between dimensions of context, founded on the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services PARIHS framework, and self-reported research use behavior.

MethodsA cross-sectional survey approach was employed using a version of the ACT, modified specifically for pediatric settings. The survey was administered to nurses working in three pediatric units in Alberta, Canada. Scores for three dimensions of context culture, leadership and evaluation were used to categorize respondent data into one of four context groups high, moderately high, moderately low and low. We then examined the relationships between nurses- self-reported research use and their perceived context.

ResultsA 69% response rate was achieved. Statistically significant differences in nurses- perceptions of culture, leadership and evaluation, and self-reported conceptual research use were found across the three units. Differences in instrumental research use across the three groups of nurses by unit were not significant. Higher self-reported instrumental and conceptual research use by all nurses in the sample was associated with more positive perceptions of their context.

ConclusionsOverall, the results of this study lend support to the view that more positive contexts are associated with higher reports of research use in practice. These findings have implications for organizational endeavors to promote evidence-informed practice and maximize the quality of care. Importantly, these findings can be used to guide the development of interventions to target modifiable characteristics of organizational context that are influential in shaping research use behavior.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1472-6963-10-168 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Greta G Cummings - Alison M Hutchinson - Shannon D Scott - Peter G Norton - Carole A Estabrooks


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