Identifying research priorities for midwifery in Ireland

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Objective: To identify research priorities for midwifery in Ireland in the short, medium and long term. Method: A three-round Delphi survey design was used to identify midwifery research topics. Issues identified through content analysis formed Questionnaires 2 and 3. Participants rated the importance of each topic (1=low importance to 7=high importance), and a mean score of 6.0 or more was considered a priority issue. A final discussion group set short-, medium- or long-term timeframes for the research topics. Participants: 334 midwives were recruited from a national invitation to all midwives. Response rates were 43% (Round 1; 142/334), 85% (Round 2; 121/142) and 81% (Round 3; 98/121). Nine consumers of maternity services were included in the discussion group workshop. Findings: Participants identified 11 clinical, eight management, and seven education midwifery research topics with six high-priority issues: promoting woman-centred care (management), promoting the distinctiveness of midwifery (education), satisfaction with care (clinical), care in labour (clinical), preparation for practice (clinical), and promoting research/evidence-based practice (education). Key conclusions: This research sought to achieve consensus amongst a representative sample of midwives on the priorities for midwifery research in Ireland. Midwives can now select topics for graduate or other research studies of importance to practice, management and education. Funding agencies can confidently direct the allocation of national and local funding for priority areas of midwifery research within Ireland.

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Journal Article

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