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Keywords:

  • Delphi technique;
  • midwifery;
  • nominal group technique;
  • nurse education;
  • nursing;
  • research and development;
  • research capacity;
  • research in practice

Abstract

Title. Capacity building in nursing and midwifery research and development: an old priority with a new perspective.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to identify strategic priorities to inform the development of a regional strategy for nursing and midwifery research and development.

Background.  Research capacity has been highlighted internationally as a crucial element in the advancement of nursing and midwifery research and development. Research capacity has been defined as that which relates to the ability to conduct research. In a strategic context, however, there is a broader perspective that encompasses activities related both to ‘using’ and ‘doing’ research.

Methods.  A modified nominal group technique was employed. Three rounds were used to identify the main strategic priorities for nursing and midwifery research and development. Round one was based on the Delphi Technique and further rounds were based on the nominal group technique approach. Data were collected during February 2005. Participants (n = 105) were those involved in the research and development agenda for nursing and midwifery in Northern Ireland.

Findings.  Capacity building was highlighted as a central component from the final 12 priorities, with three key areas identified: (1) the importance of strong and visible leadership; (2) developing research expertise that will enable the profession to deliver programmes of research and (3) increasing the capacity of individuals and organizations to engage in development activity.

Conclusion.  The 12 priorities identified emphasize the need for a broad perspective on building capacity that reflects involvement in a range of activities that span ‘research’ and ‘development’. This has important implications globally if nurses and midwives are to develop the knowledge and skills required to engage in research and development as an integral part of their practice. Embracing this broader perspective has the potential to enhance performance that will contribute to continuous quality improvement.