Research challenges for a complementary medicine higher education institution: Results from an organisational climate survey

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Journal Article
European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 7 (5), pp. 442 - 449
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© 2015. Introduction: Research and scholarly activity is considered a key feature which differentiates universities from technical colleges. The development of a research culture in a higher education institution (HEI) which primarily focuses on complementary medicine (CM) education faces unique challenges. However, little is known about the factors influencing research activity as they relate to institutions responsible for CM practitioner education. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey of academic and operational staff was conducted at a dual sector private CM education institution in Australia. The survey included items examining respondent attitudes and beliefs about research, personal research experience, and future intended research activity. Statistical analysis determined descriptive frequencies. Backwards stepwise logistic regression was used to identify characteristics of faculty interested in enrolling in a higher degree by research (HDR). Results: The survey was completed by 202 of 389 academics. Respondents perceived research as important to their personal professional goals (86.0%) although confidence in being able to undertake research was less common (56.5%). The perceived importance of publication of research to the respondents' personal professional goals was also notably high (80.0%) although confidence in their own ability to produce research publications was lower (52.9%). A number of key characteristics were identified for those interested in enrolling in a HDR including confidence in certain research methods and experience with publishing research. Discussion/Conclusion: The findings from this analysis may prove useful to early career researchers, educational administrators and research leaders in CM organisations transitioning from a teaching institution to a research-focused academic centre of excellence.
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