General practice research: attitudes and involvement of Queensland general practitioners

Med J Aust. 2002 Jul 15;177(2):74-7. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2002.tb04670.x.


Objectives: To determine general practitioners' (GPs') attitudes towards and involvement in general practice research.

Design: Postal survey and semi-structured interviews conducted from May to September 2001.

Participants and setting: 467 of 631 GPs in four Queensland Divisions of General Practice responded to the survey (74% response rate); 18 selected GPs were interviewed.

Main outcome measures: Survey - attitudes to research; access to information resources; and involvement in research. Interviews - the need for general practice research; barriers against and factors enabling greater participation in research.

Results: 389/463 (84%) GPs, especially younger and more recent graduates, had positive attitudes to research, but only 29% wanted more involvement. 223/462 (48%) were aware they had access to MEDLINE, although presumably all those with Internet access (89%) would have free access via PubMed. Barriers included the general practice environment (especially fee-for-service funding), and the culture of general practice. Enabling factors included academic mentors; opportunities to participate in reputable, established research activities relevant to general practice; and access to information resources.

Conclusions: Although Australian general practice has a weak research culture, about a third of GPs would like to increase their involvement in research. However, the research must be perceived as relevant, and structured to minimise the inherent barriers in the environment and culture of general practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Data Collection
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Physicians, Family
  • Queensland
  • Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires