Journal article

Objective and importance: To explore the role of resourcing during an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care research project.

Study type: Process evaluation using grounded theory approaches of a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research project named Getting it Right: the validation study.

Methods: Qualitative semi-structured interviews with 36 primary health care staff and 4 community members from 9 of 10 primary health care services involved in the research project. Interviews included questions about the resources needed to conduct the research project, including flexible reimbursement to participating services (allocated within services), human resources and reimbursement to research participants (vouchers). Qualitative data were triangulated with participant feedback, study administrative data and field notes kept by the interviewer.

Results: Three themes were identified: 1) the influence of reimbursement on participating services and the research project; 2) the influence of human resources on the research project at participating services; and 3) the consequences of offering vouchers to reimburse research participants. Reimbursement was allocated to research expenses (human resources and logistics) or non-research expenses (service operations, equipment and conference attendance costs). Most services opted to offer vouchers to compensate participants for their time, which staff considered was appropriate recognition of participants’ contributions and facilitated recruitment. Some staff described some potential unintended negative consequences from offering vouchers, including creating a welfare mentality or creating problematic expectations.

Conclusion: Primary health care research should have sufficient resourcing available, including human resource capacity, to achieve research targets. Research planning should include consideration of the existing commitments, priorities and human capacity needs of services and patients

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