Background: Assessing the integrity of research climates and sharing such information with research leaders may support research best practices. We report here results of a pilot trial testing the effectiveness of a reporting and feedback intervention using the Survey of Organizational Research Climate (SOuRCe).
Methods: We randomized 41 Veterans Health Administration (VA) facilities to a phone-based intervention designed to help research leaders understand their survey results (enhanced arm) or to an intervention in which results were simply distributed to research leaders (basic arm). Primary outcomes were (1) whether leaders took action, (2) whether actions taken were consistent with the feedback received, and (3) whether responses differed by receptivity to quality improvement input.
Results: Research leaders from 25 of 42 (59%) VA facilities consented to participate in the study intervention and follow-up, of which 14 were at facilities randomized to the enhanced arm. We completed follow-up interviews with 21 of the 25 leaders (88%), 12 from enhanced arm facilities. While not statistically significant, the proportion of leaders reporting taking some action in response to the feedback was twice as high in the enhanced arm than in the basic arm (67% vs. 33%, p = .20). While also not statistically significant, a higher proportion of actions taken among facilities in the enhanced arm were responsive to the survey results than in the basic arm (42% vs. 22%, p = .64).
Conclusions: Enhanced feedback of survey results appears to be a promising intervention that may increase the likelihood of responsive action to improve organizational climates. Due to the small sample size of this pilot study, even large percentage-point differences between study arms are not statistically distinguishable. This hypothesis should be tested in a larger trial.
Keywords: Veterans Affairs; organizational climate; randomized controlled trial; reporting and feedback; research integrity; survey.