Doctor of Philosophy
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Practice-based research is an active and collaborative approach to clinical research that minimizes the research-practice gap. Practice-based research involves collecting data in practice to answer questions that arise from clinical practice. The findings from this research then inform future practices. Though over the past two decades there has been a significant increase in knowledge translation activities, especially the use of collaborative partnerships, the integration of these practices in speech-language pathology is in its infancy. In this thesis, I investigate the role of practice-based research in speech-language pathology. In Chapter 2, I first examine the current role of practice-based research in speech-language pathology through a scoping review. I present a practice-based research Co-Creation Model that characterizes the outcomes of partnerships, and I present the results of the scoping review. The Co-Creation Model outlines capturing practice, changing practice, and creating practice as three potential outcomes of these partnerships. In Chapter 3, I employ two aspects of the model, first capturing practice and then changing practice. In this chapter, I report on a practice-based research partnership between researchers and speech-language pathologists at a school board in Ontario. The clinicians at this school board designed a language and literacy tool and they were interested in determining the effectiveness of the tool. In study 1, we capture the current use of the tool and the results of this study led to a collaborative update of the tool. In study 2, additional data was collected to determine the effectiveness of the updated tool and determine the tool’s validity against standardized measures of language. The results of this study demonstrated that the update of the tool was successful. Chapter 4 aims to understand the experiences of researchers and clinicians engaged in a partnership and draws on qualitative data collected during the practice-based study reported in Chapter 3. Insight from their experiences provided knowledge of barriers and facilitators to partnership, and factors important for partnership initiation and maintenance. Chapter 5 summarizes the findings of these 3 chapters, discusses broader implications of this work, acknowledges limitations of the current work, and outlines considerations for future work in practice-based research.
Summary for Lay Audience
Many researchers and clinicians have acknowledged a knowledge gap between research and practice. In other words, the best available evidence is not always being used in clinical practice. One suggested approach to reduce the gap between research and practice is called practice-based research. In practice-based research, researchers and clinicians work together to gather research findings from clinical practice. This reduces the research-practice gap because the research findings are specific to clinical practice and can be integrated back into practice immediately. For example, if the researchers and clinicians determine that an assessment being used is not collecting the data they want it to, they can work together, make changes to the assessment, and then gather data to determine if the assessment is now gathering the intended data. The goal of this thesis was to understand the role that practice-based research can play in speech-language pathology.
In study 1, I complete a review to understand how practice-based research partnerships currently exist between researchers and speech-language pathologists. I also present a model for researchers and clinicians who are interested in working in partnership. In my doctoral work, I had the opportunity to engage in a practice-based research partnership with speech-language pathologists at a school board. The speech-language pathologists at this school board created a tool that they use to assess language skills. Chapter 2 describes the steps we took to evaluate the tool. We make changes to the tool and demonstrate the tool’s effectiveness. In this partnership, it was also important that we examine the experiences of researchers and speech-language pathologists throughout this project. Collaborative partnerships are being used to minimize the research-practice gap, but more information is needed to understand the potential of these partnerships. Chapter 4 reviews facilitators and barriers that were experienced by those in the partnership and lists factors important at the beginning of the partnership and to sustain the partnership. Overall, this research adds to our understanding of partnerships between researchers and speech-language pathologists. I present a practice-based research partnership that resulted in meaningful changes to clinical practice and explore the experiences of working in a partnership.
Vollebregt, Meghan, "Practice-Based Research in Speech-Language Pathology" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8490.
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