BARRIERS to Research Utilization Scale
For more than 25 years, the nursing literature
has discussed the gap between the conduct of nursing research and
the use of research findings to improve patient care and clinical
practice. In 1987, the research team of Funk, Champagne, Tornquist,
and Wiese, developed the BARRIERS Scale to assess clinicians', administrators',
and academicians' perceptions of barriers to the utilization of
research findings in practice. Items were derived from the literature,
from research data, and from the CURN Project Research Utilization
Questionnaire (Crane, Pelz, & Horsley, 1977).
The scale, consisting of 29 items, was
tested with a sample of registered nurses (n=1,948) who were employed
full time in nursing, 924 of whom held clinical positions. Standard
psychometric analyses were performed on the instrument and replicated.
These analyses are described in detail in Funk, Champagne, Tornquist
and Wiese ("BARRIERS: The Barriers to Research Utilization
Scale," Applied Nursing Research, 4, 39-45, 1991. It is recommended
that those wishing to use the BARRIERS Scale read this article.
Principal components analyses identified
four factors on the scale: characteristics of the potential adopter,
characteristics of the organization in which the research will be
used, characteristics of the innovation or research, and characteristics
of the communication of the research. The factors, their corresponding
items and Cronbach's alphas are listed below.
FACTOR 1. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ADOPTER:
The nurse's research values, skills, and awareness. (8 items; alpha
· The nurse does not see the value
of research for practice.
· The nurse sees little benefit for self.
· The nurse is unwilling to change/try new ideas.
· There is not a documented need to change practice.
· The nurse feels the benefits of changing practice will
· The nurse does not feel capable of evaluating the quality
of the research.
· The nurse is isolated from knowledgeable colleagues with
whom to discuss the research.
· The nurse is unaware of the research.
FACTOR 2. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ORGANIZATION:
Setting, barriers and limitations. (8 items; alpha = .80)
· Administration will not allow
· Physicians will not cooperate with implementation.
· There is insufficient time on the job to implement new
· Other staff are not supportive of implementation.
· The facilities are inadequate for implementation.
· The nurse does not feel she/he has enough authority to
change patient care procedures.
· The nurse does not have time to read research.
· The nurse feels results are not generalizable to own setting.
FACTOR 3. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE INNOVATION:
Qualities of the research. (6 items; alpha = .72)
· The research has methodological
· The conclusions drawn from the research are not justified.
· The research has not been replicated.
· The literature reports conflicting results.
· The nurse is uncertain whether to believe the results of
· Research reports/articles are not published fast enough.
FACTOR 4. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE COMMUNICATION:
Presentation and accessibility of the research. (6 items; alpha
· Implications for practice are
not made clear.
· Research reports/articles are not readily available.
· The research is not reported clearly and readably.
· Statistical analyses are not understandable.
· The relevant literature is not compiled in one place.
· The research is not relevant to the nurse's practice.
Scoring of the tool is specified in the
original article about the tool that appeared in Applied Nursing
Research: "BARRIERS: The Barriers to Research Utilization Scale,"
Vol. 4, pp. 39-45, 1991. This article delineates the four scales
of the tool (characteristics of the nurse, the setting, the research,
and its communication) and specifies the items to be included on
each scale. Note that one item (Item #27) is not scored since it
did not load on any of the four factors. It has been retained on
the instrument, however, based on feedback from clinicians and administrators
regarding its potential utility.
Scoring for each factor is quite simple
-- for each individual, merely average [take the mean of] the responses
to the items on the factor, eliminating those items for which the
individual specified "no opinion" or left blank. (Thus,
the appropriate divisor for the mean is the number of items with
valid responses [i.e., scores of 1-4], not the total number of items
on the scale.) If an individual responds "no opinion"
for at least half of the items on a scale, you may wish to assign
a "missing value" for the scale, since the scale score
may be unstable.
There are two versions of the scale available
to researchers: (a) the original BARRIERS scale reported in Applied
Nursing Research, 1991, which asks respondents to provide general
perceptions of the barriers, and (b) a version that personalizes
the instructions so the responses are provided in relation to the
individual's own work setting. The scale has been sent to over 100
researchers, clinicians, administrators, and students over the past
10 years. It has been translated into German, Thai, Korean, and
French and is presently being translated into additional languages.
A psychometric database is being compiled from data returned by
The scale is now available for downloading
from the Internet (see below). However, investigators are reminded
that the scale is copyrighted and can only be duplicated or copied
after submitting a signed permission form to Sandra G. Funk, PhD.
Additionally, all requests for changes or alterations in the scale
must be pre-approved by Dr. Funk.
We hope the BARRIERS tool will add to
research on the utilization process, provide a guide for the development
and evaluation of education and intervention programs, and foster
communication between clinicians, researchers, and administrators.
As the gap between research and its application is closed we believe
that patient care will benefit.