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Quality research in healthcare: are researchers getting enough statistical support?

Omar, RZ; McNally, N; Ambler, G; Pollock, AM; (2006) Quality research in healthcare: are researchers getting enough statistical support? BMC HEALTH SERV RES , 6 , Article 2. 10.1186/1472-6963-6-2. Gold open access

Abstract

Background: Reviews of peer-reviewed health studies have highlighted problems with their methodological quality. As published health studies form the basis of many clinical decisions including evaluation and provisions of health services, this has scientific and ethical implications. The lack of involvement of methodologists ( defined as statisticians or quantitative epidemiologists) has been suggested as one key reason for this problem and this has been linked to the lack of access to methodologists. This issue was highlighted several years ago and it was suggested that more investments were needed from health care organisations and Universities to alleviate this problem.Methods: To assess the current level of methodological support available for health researchers in England, we surveyed the 25 National Health Services Trusts in England, that are the major recipients of the Department of Health's research and development (R&D) support funding.Results and discussion: The survey shows that the earmarking of resources to provide appropriate methodological support to health researchers in these organisations is not widespread. Neither the level of R&D support funding received nor the volume of research undertaken by these organisations showed any association with the amount they spent in providing a central resource for methodological support for their researchers.Conclusion: The promotion and delivery of high quality health research requires that organisations hosting health research and their academic partners put in place funding and systems to provide appropriate methodological support to ensure valid research findings. If resources are limited, health researchers may have to rely on short courses and/or a limited number of advisory sessions which may not always produce satisfactory results.

Type:Article
Title:Quality research in healthcare: are researchers getting enough statistical support?
Open access status:An open access publication
DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-6-2
Keywords:MEDICAL-RESEARCH, TRIALS
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Statistical Science

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