Research governance and bureaucracy for multisite studies: implications for occupational therapy research

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Obtaining research governance approvals for research involving the National Health Service (NHS) has become increasingly complex. In order to obtain the necessary approvals to interview 20 occupational therapists from a range of locations across the United Kingdom, the authors had to submit lengthy applications to all 20 sites. Before issuing their approvals, some sites raised numerous queries, whilst others did not raise any. The time taken to obtain approvals ranged from 6 to 197 days. These disparities highlight that the current research governance procedure for multisite studies is complex and subject to local interpretations. This opinion piece argues that the procedure is excessive for research that does not involve patients and involves NHS staff only. It also argues that this is an injudicious use of resources at a time of national austerity. Implications for the future of occupational therapy research in the United Kingdom are discussed.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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