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Br J Gen Pract. 2000 Nov;50(460):913-5.

The productivity of primary care research networks.

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Primary Care Unit, University of Warwick.


Primary care research networks are being publicly funded in the United Kingdom to promote a culture of research and development in primary care. This paper discusses the organisational form of these networks and how their productivity can be evaluated, drawing on evidence from management science. An evaluation of a research network has to take account of the complexity of the organisation, the influence of its local context, and its stage of development. Output measures, such as number of research papers, and process measures, such as number of research meetings, may contribute to an evaluation. However, as networking relies on the development of informal, trust-based relationships, the quality of interactions within a network is of paramount importance for its success. Networks can audit and reflect on their success in promoting such relationships and a more formal qualitative evaluation by an independent observer can document their success to those responsible for funding.

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