Objective: To identify policy strategies that are perceived by researchers active in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health as effective in increasing the amount of high-quality intervention research undertaken in this field.
Design and setting: A cross-sectional study using a web-based survey was emailed to researchers based in clinical, public health and other academic institutions.
Participants: Researchers who had published more than once in Aboriginal health between 1 January 2005 and 1 August 2009, based on a MEDLINE search.
Main outcome measures: Participants selected and weighted 17 strategies that were, in their opinion, important for increasing the amount of high-quality intervention research being conducted in Aboriginal health.
Results: We invited 157 researchers to complete the survey, and received 74 completed surveys. The most highly weighted strategies were: for research funding bodies to give funding priority to intervention research proposals that target Aboriginal populations (median weighted score,15%); for peak bodies representing Aboriginal communities to clearly specify intervention research priorities in a national Aboriginal health research agenda (median weighted score, 10%); for research funding bodies to fund research to develop reliable measures of health for Aboriginal people (median weighted score, 9.5%); for health care organisations to participate more in intervention research targeting Aboriginal populations (median, 8.5%); and for research review panels to accept intervention research designs other than the randomised controlled trial (median weighted score, 8%).
Conclusions: Researchers who are active in Aboriginal health research perceive that improvements in funding mechanisms, priority setting and research systems are required to increase the amount of high-quality intervention research being conducted in this field. A national intervention research agenda that encourages multidisciplinary research teams and community partnerships may offer a solution.