Why it matters to find the time to complete the LUNA SLT Survey

Written by Madeline Cruice



It is possibly more than a little sad to get excited by a journal article, but I’ve recently seen @ClinAcSLT’s tweet of Tuesday last week (30thOctober) and been really buoyed by them tweeting this BMJ paper: Does the engagement of clinicians and organisations in research improve healthcare performance: A three-stage review, by Boaz and colleagues https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/12/e009415 (🔓 open access – freely available).

This review shows from what looks exhausting to be dealing with 10,239 records initially identified, and whittled down to 33 papers included in the review, that the majority report positive findings from engagement, with improvements being noted mostly in improved processes of care, and then improved health outcomes. This comes at a time that is crucial for me as the primary investigator on LUNA, leading phase 2 of LUNA, and desperate to boost our respondent numbers of SLTs working in aphasia rehabilitation for our LUNA SLT survey www.city.ac.uk/luna-survey.

What we’ve been doing so far

We’ve been tweeting like mad and bothering BAS, RCSLT CENs, and Hubs on email for weeks now, and we’ve got a delightful completed respondent sample of 144 completed valid responses – THANK YOU to everyone who has made the time and engaged in this research. It’s important in research to employ robust and replicable methods, even for survey engagement, hence I haven’t been emailing my NHS pals on their gmail accounts (or NHS email addresses) to get the word out and boost numbers. However, our numbers are still low compared to what we would like to gain for this research.

Initially we estimated that there are probably approximately 500 SLTs working in adults, in the field of aphasia rehabilitation, who are members of BAS, CENs, and Hubs (allowing for approx. 200 overlap between national and local network memberships). And we hoped to get 350 of those, thereby giving us a 70% response rate, which is nice and tidy and ideal in the survey world. At the moment, we are on 41% of our target, which feels a little glass-half-empty, however in no way shape or form do I want to downplay the time and effort of those 144 individuals who have completed to date – I know how much effort it takes to make that time, and know that other activities will have gone un-done, or people will have left work late one day because of it, or they’ve needed to complete it at home meaning less TV or partner and family chat that night. Now, time pressures are never going to change, so my attempt here in the next paragraph is to highlight why taking time to complete the survey is worthwhile, drawing on some findings from Boaz et al, and hope to encourage people for a final last push in engaging in this research.

7 reasons why it’s worthwhile to do the survey

By engaging in research, Boaz and colleagues posit various mechanisms at play to improve ‘healthcare performance’ (be it processes of care, or healthcare outcomes, see Table 2 in their paper):

  1. Just being involved in the processes of the research can improve performance, by going online, reading the survey questions, considering the relevance to you and your practice, and how important it is to your clients.


  1. Engaging in the survey might change your attitudes or behaviours around discourse analysis, might prompt conversation with colleagues about discourse analysis and treatment with clients with aphasia, and might encourage someone to follow-up this point in a future journal club.


  1. Completing the survey might help you be more aware and give more understanding of the specific research findings, when we start discussing and disseminating these more in 2019.


  1. Completing the survey might make you interested in finding out more about the project, might encourage you to read one of the papers flagged online on our website https://blogs.city.ac.uk/luna or ask a question directly to our team: luna@city.ac.uk.


  1. Being involved might help you apply the findings more (once they’re out) in your local setting with colleagues and in services.


  1. Being involved in one relatively easy way of keeping up to date with an important and emerging area of rehabilitation research – complete the survey, and then go to our website and subscribe by email for automatic blog postings delivering project updates and relevant information to your preferred inbox.


  1. Finally, the obvious one albeit altruistic but fundamental in the long run, being involved makes the research more relevant for practicing speech and language therapists and for services, which is what we here at LUNA are all about.


SO…… go on, grab a wine or grab a water, take 15-20 minutes with your mobile or laptop or tablet or desktop (what options!), and complete the survey. If you’ve done it already, please pass the survey link onto 1 or 2 colleagues who you know are also interested in engaging in research. http://www.city.ac.uk/luna-survey

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