A Delphi Study of District Nursing Research Priorities in Australia

Annells et al. (2005) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?


In which location was the research priority setting conducted?

Australia - Australia

Why was it conducted at all?

The quest for evidence-based practice occurs globally among all nursing specialties, including district nursing, which primarily provides home-based nursing care. Al though programs of district nursing research are underway in most Australian states, with postgraduate diplomas and research-focused higher degrees available in the specialty of district nursing, there has been little overall research of district nursing phenomena in Australia to provide evidence for best practice. Some applicable research is surfacing from other countries. In this embryonic stage of developing evidence for district nursing, a systematic approach to what clinical issues need to be researched is required to guide planning of applicable, useful research.

What was the objective?

to collectively identify and prioritize contemporary district nursing research priorities

What was the outcome?

a ranking list of 10 research questions

How long did the research prioritization take?

6 months

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: Delphi round 1: survey asking participants to identify up to six suggestions of clinical problems for research pertinent to their district nursing practice and participants were asked to provide rationale. Step 2: data processing: thematic analysis, rewording submissions into research questions. Step 3: Delphi round 2: survey with 419 suggested clinical problems for research reworded as research questions and summary of rationales: participants were asked to rate importance of each question. Step 4: Delphi round 3: survey with top-ranked 15% of questions (list of 68 questions), participants were asked to re-rate importance of each question. Step 4: ranking 68 items grouped into categories based on participants' ratings. Step 5: Delphi round 4: list of the top 10 prioritized research questions compiled, and prioritized responses to the 68 items of round 3 listed in categories forwarded to participants

Which stakeholders took part?

District nurses employed within the four district nursing organizations. 319 nurses participated: 219 were generalist district nurses and 100 focused on 27 subspecialty areas or combinations of subspecialty areas.

How were stakeholders recruited?

All the district nurses (N=2,340) employed within the four district nursing organizations were forwarded, at their place of work, a letter of information (that also detailed their rights) and an invitation to join the panel, plus a copy of the first questionnaire.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.