1. Issel, L. Michele PhD, RN, Editor-in-Chief

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I am a proponent of engaged research (Van de Ven, 2007), also known as participatory research (Green et al, 1994), which could also be called collaborative research or practice-driven research (Fox, 2003). Nuisances aside, the idea is to conduct research as an interactive process with the individuals being researched. When applied to health care administrative research, the research team would include at least one individual who is a health care administrator or manager, preferably from the organization being studied. Patients could also be coinvestigators. Use of this type of research does not fall into the category of a fad or fashion (Kaissi & Begun, 2008). A key advantage of engaged or practice-driven research is that the research becomes real world, alive, practical, exciting, and useful as a result of different questions being asked.

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Practitioners and researchers tend to ask different research questions; consequently, different information is generated. Administration of health care organizations and choice of research topics are subject to different pressures for legitimatization, funding, and innovation. In an ideal world, those pressures would be aligned and the trends in practice and research topics would be intertwined through engaged, participatory, collaborative practice and research activities. Involvement of practitioners in the research contributes to having studies that yield findings that are more readily translated into research-based, relevant, applicable, and feasible practice recommendations.


Health Care Management Review (HCMR) seeks to balance advancing the science of health care administration and advancing the practice of health care administration. Rarely does a manuscript submitted to HCMR include a practitioner as a coauthor, and more rarely is a practitioner acknowledged for feedback or for contributions to the article. This nonengaged approach to health care administration research may be an artifact of the discipline norms. Points of comparison are publications in public health and evaluation research. In both of those disciplines, practitioners are far more evident in acknowledgments and, depending on the journal, in authorship. On the positive side, there has been a welcome increase in submissions to HCMR based on evaluations of various health care organization projects. Unfortunately, the manuscripts tend to be more like project reports than engaged research presentations. Consequently, these manuscripts missed the mark on potentially making significant recommendations about health administrative practice and practices.


As health care regains attention as a national political agenda, issues of effective management surely will arise. Real-world, evidence-based solutions to urgent questions will be highly prized and more likely to gain policy support. The need for policy-relevant, practice-enhancing research will continue, if not grow. From my point of view, one of the best scholarly approaches to addressing this need is more involvement of practitioners in the research dissemination enterprise.


L. Michele Issel, PhD, RN, Editor-in-Chief






Fox, N. J. (2003). Practice-based evidence: Towards collaborative and transgressive research. Sociology: Journal of the British Sociological Association, 37(1), 81. [Context Link]


Green, L. W., George, M. A., Daniel, M, Frankish, C. J., Herbert, C. J., Bowie W. R., et al. (1994). Study of participatory research in health promotion. Ottawa, Canada: Royal Society of Canada:128. [Context Link]


Kaissi, A., & Begun, J. (2008). Fads, fashions, and bandwagons in health care strategy. Health Care Management Review, 33(2), 94. [Context Link]


Van de Ven, A. (2007). Engaged scholarship. New York: Oxford University Press. [Context Link]