To carry out an audit of the quantity and content of research teaching on UK preregistration speech and language therapy (SLT) degree programmes.Method:
Lecturers delivering research teaching from each higher education institution providing preregistration training were invited to complete an online survey.Questions included:
Amount of research teaching, content of research teaching (including final-year projects), perceived confidence by staff of graduates in research awareness, research activity and leading research. Responses were received for 14 programmes (10 undergraduate and four postgraduate), representing 73% of all undergraduate courses and 44% of all postgraduate courses in the United Kingdom.Results:
Fifty percent of courses included over 30 h of research teaching, with wide variability across both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in number of hours, modules and credits devoted to research. There was no association between quantity of research teaching and perception of adequacy of quantity of teaching. Critical appraisal, statistical software and finding literature were the most common topics taught. Conversely, service evaluation and audit was the least common topic covered. All institutions provided a final-year project, with 11/14 requiring empirical research. Perceived confidence of graduates was higher for research awareness than active research and leading research, but this varied across institutions. There was a strong correlation between lecturers’ perceived confidence of graduates in research awareness and number of hours of research teaching.Conclusion:
Despite the requirements for healthcare professionals to engage in evidence-based practice, the amount and nature of research training in preregistration courses for SLTs in the United Kingdom is highly variable. Levels of perceived confidence of graduates were also variable, not only for active participation in research, and for leading research, but also for research awareness. This has implications for the ability of SLTs to use and embed research in their routine clinical practice.