The involvement, understanding and attitudes of dietitians towards research and audit
To investigate the involvement of dietitians in research and audit and to assess their understanding of and attitudes towards these activities.Methods
A postal questionnaire was used to investigate the knowledge, attitude towards and involvement in research and audit of State Registered Dietitians practising in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.Results
A response rate of 64% was achieved. Few respondents (15%) were currently involved in research, although more (65%) were currently involved in audit. Involvement in audit rose significantly with increasing grade and managerial responsibility. Dietitians qualifying more recently were more likely to believe that their college training prepared them to undertake research, but felt less confident about undertaking audit. Experience of audit made respondents more confident about auditing their work and improved their belief that they understood audit terminology. Higher grade dietitians were more likely to see audit as an important part of their role than were their more junior colleagues. Understanding of the terms ‘research’ and ‘audit’ was poor, although 48% of respondents identified the link between the two activities. Perceived constraints to involvement in research and audit were identified.Conclusion
The present level of involvement of dietitians in research and audit activities falls below that recommended in the BDA’s (1997a) National Professional Standards for Dietitians Practising in Healthcare. This study identifies factors that influence dietitians’ involvement in, understanding of and attitudes towards research and audit and recommends ways of increasing their involvement in these activities.