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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 157-165

Impediments to Higher Degree Training for Australian Clinical Researchers in General Practice

1 School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
2 Discipline of General Practice, The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Lyndal Trevena
Lecturer, School of Public Health, Room 322, Edward Ford Building (A27), The University of Sydney, NSW 2006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Context & Objective: Evidence-based general practice requires skilled researchers in the field. This study explores the issues faced by professionals from the Australian general practice sector who were considering higher degree training in research. Method: Sixteen participants were interviewed by telephone during October 2002. All were purposively selected across general practice-related professions and had expressed an interest in research. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and analysed independently by two researchers. Results: Three main themes emerged: (1) ''The Specialist Gap''-a perceived lack of training options providing research skills that were relevant to general practice, particularly mixing quantitative and qualitative methods. (2) ''Career Changes''-the ability to expand career opportunities through research was highly desirable, particularly the potential to combine clinical skills with population health roles. (3) ''Career impediments''-perceptions of current degree options implied that their currency was limited by lack of career advancement. Course selection was often by affiliation and personal recommendation rather than career pathways yet students face large financial costs for little career gain. Conclusion: Training for clinical researchers in the Australian general practice sector may be limited by lack of career opportunities for graduates. If a stronger culture of research is to develop, career development strategies need to be further explored.

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