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The research/practice nexus: underlying assumptions about the nature of research uptake into practice in literature pertaining to care of the older person


  • Bridget Garnham BPych (Hons),

  • Julianne Cheek PhD,

  • Pamela Alde BN (Hons), RN

Bridget Garnham
Centre for Aged Care Studies
School of Health Sciences
University of South Australia
Telephone: +61 8 8267 0856


Much has been written about the link between practice and research in the nursing and health literature. The literature from fields of practice relating to care of the older person is no exception. Enhancing best practice to effectively meet the needs and desires of older people, and provide an optimal working environment for those providing that care, requires sustainable synergies between research and practice. However, the perception of a gap(s) between ‘what we know’ and ‘what we do’ persists in the writing in relation to the care of older people, as it does in healthcare more broadly. Rather than attempting to provide an exhaustive descriptive review of the literature, this paper reports on, and provides an analysis of, two broad thematic areas that are reflected in much of the writing about research and practice relevant to the care of older people. The first thematic area relates to literature that presupposes a linear/passive view of research uptake. The second thematic area includes literature that conceptualizes research uptake as dynamic/active. The discussion focuses on what these thematic areas can tell us about enhancing and optimizing synergies and connections between research and practice relating to care of the older person.