A framework for conducting policy-relevant primary care research: a COVID-19 case study in Australia

Judith Thomas, Chistao Imai, Gorkem Sezgin, Rae-Anne Hardie, Stephen Weeding, Christopher Pearce, Adam McLeod, Precious McGuire, Shirmilla Datta, Julie Li, Nasir Wabe, Guilherme Saffi Franco, Zhaoli Dai, Gihan De Mel, Emma Gault, Muhammad Kashif Sheikh, Andrew Georgiou

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The onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2, and the ensuing implementation of response measures directly impacted the delivery of Australian primary care services. Understanding how these measures affected practice activity is important for gauging both their effectiveness and implications for future service planning. During the first 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, a research project was undertaken to determine the impact of the pandemic on Australian general practice activity as a collaborative undertaking between researchers, general practitioners, data custodians, and five primary health networks from New South Wales and Victoria, Australia. The project methodology was based on an established research approach called action research, which involves participatory involvement from key stakeholders throughout the research process. The strength and success of the project’s methodological approach stemmed from the synergistic interrelationship between the four key elements of: collaboration, repeated action research cycles (utilising electronic general practice data), engaged governance, and the production and dissemination of apposite knowledge outcomes. The project approach, knowledge outputs and lessons learned can be adapted to future research undertakings across any primary care setting and highlight the utility of action research and interdisciplinary research collaboration to produce knowledge directly relevant to clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number1
Early online date21 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • action research
  • collaborative research
  • COVID- 19
  • design thinking
  • General practice
  • pandemic
  • primary care
  • research methods


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