Research priorities for the therapy professions in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland: a comparison of findings from a Delphi consultation

J Allied Health. 2014 Summer;43(2):98-109.


Background: Allied health professions constitute a large and growing proportion of the healthcare workforce. As a collective they are involved in complex care interventions often within multidisciplinary teams and increasingly in community settings. Even though reliable information is lacking, some professions do appear to have developed an active research culture, whereas others are more limited in terms of research.

Purpose: This paper reports on the comparative findings of two Delphi studies, one in Northern Ireland and one in the Republic of Ireland, undertaken between 2008 and 2011. The aim of both studies was to identify research priorities for six of the therapy professions.

Method: A classic Delphi approach was used involving expert panels from the therapy disciplines, service users, and key stakeholders.

Results: Both studies provided rich sources of data. Areas of commonality included the evaluation of practice generally and specific interventions common to each of the professions. More effective service management and health promotion research were also identified as important in both countries.

Conclusions: As the global number of allied health professionals increases, along with the need for them to support their practice with sound evidence, the findings from this paper have international implications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel / organization & administration
  • Allied Health Personnel / standards*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Delphi Technique
  • Evidence-Based Practice / methods
  • Evidence-Based Practice / organization & administration
  • Evidence-Based Practice / standards*
  • Health Priorities*
  • Health Services Research / methods
  • Health Services Research / organization & administration
  • Health Services Research / standards*
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Qualitative Research