Exploratory factor analysis of the research and development culture index among qualified nurses


  • Bill Watson MSc, RN,

  • Charlotte Clarke MSc, PhD, RN, PGCE,

  • Vera Swallow MMedSci, RN, RSCN,

  • Stewart Forster MSc, RN, Adult

Bill Watson
Principal Lecturer (Nursing Research)
Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit
Coach Lane Campus East
School of Health
Community and Education Studies
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7XA
Telephone: +0191 215 6014
E-mail: Bill.Watson@unn.ac.uk


Aims and objectives.  This paper presents the exploratory factor analysis of a rating instrument for assessing the strength of organizational Research and Development (R&D) culture.

Background.  Despite nursing's limited research capacity, the discipline is capitalising upon opportunities to become involved in research and is making strong progress. Within the context of the debate on nursing research capacity, the R&D Culture Index was developed as a means of appraising R&D culture within health care organizations.

Design.  Factor analysis was carried out on data collected from 485 nursing staff. The method of extraction was Principal Components Analysis with oblique rotation.

Methods.  The Index was developed from the findings of qualitative research conducted with NHS staff. Eighteen items, encompassing the main themes from the data, were initially included in the Index. This pilot instrument was distributed to nursing staff within three different types of NHS Trust. Factor analysis resulted in rejection of two items and the analysis was repeated using the remaining 16 items.

Results.  Three latent factors were extracted accounting for 58·0% of the variance in the data. The factors were: R&D Support, describing the perceived support within the working environment for R&D activity; Personal R&D Skills and Aptitude, describing an individual's perception of their ability towards R&D activity; and Personal R&D Intention, describing an individual's willingness to engage in R&D activity. Each factor had good internal reliability, as did the overall index.

Conclusion.  The R&D Culture Index provides an efficient means of assessing the strength of an organization's R&D culture in a way that captures the role of the individual practitioner and the organizational environment.

Relevance to practice.  These findings suggest that the continuing promotion of R&D within health care organizations is dependent upon a multi-faceted approach that addresses the learning needs of the organization as well as those of the individual practitioners.