2012 Year in Research

Mar 4, 2013, 12:00 PM

The grantees of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) conduct pioneering and influential research that makes remarkable contributions to the field, and to the research and evaluation community at large. Each year, RWJF identifies the 20 most popular pieces of research on its website, and invites the public to vote for the five Most Influential Research Articles.

After a record-breaking vote – the most since the poll was launched in 2008 – the 2012 “Final 5” have been announced.

“One of the most important things that bring all of these winners together is that they’ve hooked a research issue to a social issue that’s much bigger than the article itself,” RWJF Vice President of Research and Evaluation, David C. Colby, PhD, said in a Q&A about the finalists. “They helped solve a piece of that puzzle for people.”

One of the “Final 5,” a study on physician wages in states with expanded scope of practice for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), was funded by the RWJF Initiative on the Future of Nursing. The study found that physician wages are not depressed when APRNs practice independently.

“In 2010, the Institute of Medicine report on the future of nursing recommended that advanced practice registered nurses should be able to practice to the full extent of their education and training,” co-author Patricia Pittman, PhD, said in an interview. “As we looked at the issue as researchers, we scratched our heads and tried to understand what the dangers were for primary care physicians, and whether there were economic interests at stake… We viewed this study as a first step towards building an evidence base around the economics of these reforms.”

In addition to reading their research, this year you can read personal interviews with the grantees, where they share their motivation for the studies, key findings, examples of visibility and influence, and lessons that might be valuable to other researchers who want to maximize the impact and reach of their work.

Read more about the "Final 5."
Read the Q&A with David C. Colby.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.