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What really matters for successful research environments? A realist synthesis

Ajjawi, Rola, Crampton, Paul ES and Rees, Charlotte E 2018, What really matters for successful research environments? A realist synthesis, Medical education in review, vol. 52, no. 9, pp. 936-950, doi: 10.1111/medu.13643.

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Title What really matters for successful research environments? A realist synthesis
Author(s) Ajjawi, RolaORCID iD for Ajjawi, Rola orcid.org/0000-0003-0651-3870
Crampton, Paul ES
Rees, Charlotte E
Journal name Medical education in review
Volume number 52
Issue number 9
Start page 936
End page 950
Total pages 15
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Place of publication Chichester, Eng.
Publication date 2018-09
ISSN 1365-2923
Keyword(s) research environment
research culture
research productivity
medical education
social sciences
science & technology
life sciences & biomedicine
education, scientific disciplines
health care sciences & services
education & educational research
Summary Context
Research environments, or cultures, are thought to be the most influential predictors of research productivity. Although several narrative and systematic reviews have begun to identify the characteristics of research‐favourable environments, these reviews have ignored the contextual complexities and multiplicity of environmental characteristics.

Objectives
The current synthesis adopts a realist approach to explore what interventions work for whom and under what circumstances.

Methods
We conducted a realist synthesis of the international literature in medical education, education and medicine from 1992 to 2016, following five stages: (i) clarifying the scope; (ii) searching for evidence; (iii) assessing quality; (iv) extracting data, and (v) synthesising data.

Results
We identified numerous interventions relating to research strategy, people, income, infrastructure and facilities (IIF), and collaboration. These interventions resulted in positive or negative outcomes depending on the context and mechanisms fired. We identified diverse contexts at the individual and institutional levels, but found that disciplinary contexts were less influential. There were a multiplicity of positive and negative mechanisms, along with three cross‐cutting mechanisms that regularly intersected: time; identity, and relationships. Outcomes varied widely and included both positive and negative outcomes across subjective (e.g. researcher identity) and objective (e.g. research quantity and quality) domains.

Conclusions
The interplay among mechanisms and contexts is central to understanding the outcomes of specific interventions, bringing novel insights to the literature. Researchers, research leaders and research organisations should prioritise the protection of time for research, enculturate researcher identities, and develop collaborative relationships to better foster successful research environments. Future research should further explore the interplay among time, identity and relationships.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/medu.13643
Field of Research 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
130103 Higher Education
13 Education
11 Medical And Health Sciences
17 Psychology And Cognitive Sciences
Copyright notice ©2018, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30112489

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.