Rethinking health professionals' motivation to do research: a systematic review

D'Arrietta, Louisa M., Vangaveti, Venkat N., Crowe, Melissa J., and Malau-Aduli, Bunmi S. (2022) Rethinking health professionals' motivation to do research: a systematic review. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 15. pp. 185-216.

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Background: Health professionals’ engagement in translational health and medical research (HMR) is fundamental to evidence-based practice leading to better patient health outcomes. However, there is a decline in the number of health professionals undertaking research which has implications for patient health and the economy. Informed by the motivation-based expectancy-value-cost (EVC) and self determination theories (SDT), this systematic literature review examined the barriers and facilitators of health professionals’ (HPs) motivation to undertake research.

Methods: The literature was searched between 2011 and 2021 for relevant peer-reviewed articles written in English, using CINAHL Complete, Informit, Medline Ovid, Medline (PubMed), Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar databases. This systematic review was performed and reported in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines.

Results: Identified barriers to HPs’ engagement with research included the lack of knowledge, skills, and competence to conduct research, lack of protected research time, lack of funding and lack of organisational support. Integration of the findings of this review based on the EVC and SDT theories indicate that research capacity, ie, expectancy and competence is highly influenced by attitude, ie, the type of value (attainment, intrinsic or utility) and connection attributed to research. HPs who had very positive attitude towards research demonstrated all three values and were keen to take up research despite the barriers. Those who had a positive attitude were only motivated to do research because of its utility value and did not necessarily see it as having personal relevance for themselves. HPs who were unmotivated did not see any personal connection or relatedness to the research experience and saw no value in research.

Conclusion: The attitude HPs hold in their value of research is a catalyst for motivation or amotivation to engage in research as it directly influences the relevance of barriers. Facilitators that expedite the research journey have been attributed to research training, mentorship programs and supportive organisational research culture. Motivation of HPs explored through EVC and SDT is critical to the maintenance of a research culture and the clinician-researcher development pipeline.

Item ID: 71420
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1178-2390
Copyright Information: © 2022 D’Arrietta et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2022 23:46
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3299 Other biomedical and clinical sciences > 329999 Other biomedical and clinical sciences not elsewhere classified @ 70%
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education @ 30%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200199 Clinical health not elsewhere classified @ 70%
16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160102 Higher education @ 30%
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