The impact of the research methods support structure on research capacity in rural New South Wales

Aust Health Rev. 2006 Nov;30(4):427-34. doi: 10.1071/ah060427.


Objective: This paper evaluates a Research Methods Support Structure (RMSS) to foster research capacity in the New England region of rural New South Wales.

Methods: A quasi-experimental design with a historical control for comparing changes in the number of research submissions and research approval rates since the RMSS inception in July 1998 until December 2004.

Results: Comparing the two reporting periods, the total number of research submissions increased from 58 to 197, or 9 per year to 30 per year (odds ratio [OR], 3.33; 95% CI, 1.15-9.90; chi2 = 5.06; P = 0.02); and the total number of ethics approvals increased from 33 to 145, or 5 per year to 22 per year (OR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.10-4.06; chi2 = 5.17; P = 0.02). Submissions were 2.11 times more likely to receive ethics approval after the inception of the RMSS, with an increase in overall approval rates from 57% to 74%. Locally based rural researchers were 4.89 times more likely to have their submitted research ultimately approved after the inception of the research methods support structure (OR, 4.89; 95% CI, 2.11-11.41; chi2 = 16.06; P < 0.001).

Discussion: This evaluation supports an expansion of research methods support structures to increase research capacity in rural Australia.

MeSH terms

  • Ethics, Research*
  • New South Wales
  • Research Design*
  • Rural Population*