Volume 11 Issue 1 (2015)
Main Articles

Reflection on the Development of a Research Agenda in Rural Health

Lisa Bourke
The University of Melbourne
James D. Best
The University of Melbourne
John Wakerman
Flinders University
John S. Humphreys
Monash University
Julian R. Wright
The University of Melbourne
Published September 14, 2015
  • research agenda,
  • research planning,
  • rural health,
  • research leadership,
  • peer reflection,
  • research management
  • ...More


There is a dearth of literature on how research agendas have been developed. In this article, the authors reflect on the process of developing a research agenda through a case study of a rural health university centre. The aim is to contribute to understanding how a team can effectively plan research. Two leaders of the process, as well as academics external to the process, reflected on the experience and the outcome of the agenda development process. Reflections focused on three areas: (a) engagement levels, (b) power and influence, and (c) interpretation of the research agenda. First, while there was passionate discussion at meetings and afterward, engagement levels varied. Second, the process was imbued with power and influence at multiple levels. Finally, the availability of a conceptual framework to contextualise rural and remote health research helped in interpreting the significance of the resulting research agenda. The article concludes with contrasting thoughts on the place of research agendas within contemporary neoliberal regimes of research management.