A Mixed Method Investigation of Knowledge Sharing in Cross-Professional Teams in Healthcare-Research Methodology Review

Affra Al Shamsi graduated with distinction from her MSc in Information Management at Sheffield University, and started her PhD studies at Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) in March 2014. She was award her Postgraduate Higher Diploma in Medical Librarianship with distinction from Sultan Qaboos University (Oman), and holds a BSc in Chemistry from UAE University. Affra is an interdisciplinary scholar both professionally and academically, and her particular areas of interest include interdisciplinary research, learning and teaching, knowledge sharing patterns and behaviour, individual behaviour within teams, EBP (evidence based practice), mixed methods research, multimodal approaches in research and teaching, systematic reviews, public engagement, and research for impact.

Affra is passionate about finding innovative and creative ways to bring research and learning closer to the public. She is working in collaboration with several public engagement groups, aiming to raise awareness of research for impact, public involvement and engagement to PGR students.  She also has special interest in teamwork and improving individual team working skills, with an emphasis on healthcare. She has developed a Masterclass for 4th year medical students designed to help integrate their theoretical learning with clinical practice on ‘Communication and Collaboration among Cross Professional Teams’ (MBChB Masterclass Integrated Learning Activity (ILA)) which she will deliver in August. Affra was the 2009 Yale University International Associate, where she identified approximately $60,000 in medical library cost savings for 2010.

The title of Affra's PhD project is 'Incorporating a Knowledge Management Paradigm into Healthcare: A Mixed Method Investigation of Knowledge Sharing in Cross-Professional Teams in Healthcare'   


This investigation maps the intersections between teamwork and knowledge sharing (KS) within healthcare, aiming to reconcile practice and evidence.
It employs a pragmatic epistemology along with mixed methods (MM), as the research focuses on the human factor in tacit KS (communication, perceived ideas, practices, etc.,) on an individual and group level within healthcare teams, to deepen our understanding of factors that increase or lessen healthcare professionals’ tendencies to engage in KS behaviours.
This inductive-driven investigation is built on predominantly qualitative research approaches involving a quantitative component. Qualitative methods are best to identify an ‘unknown’ phenomenon (tacit KS behaviours within healthcare cross-professional teams) and consider potentially influencing factors. The research will offer a holistic understanding through a literature review and document analysis (both qualitative and quantitative), followed by a mixed method systematic review (MMSR), interviews and focus groups, to explore participant views and identify variables associated with KS in healthcare teams. The quantitative component, primarily the questionnaire, will examine the relationships among the variables identified during the previous phases, and the statistical data will allow for replication and generalisation of data. The MMSR framework will be used to analyse qualitative data, with emerging themes used to enhance, develop or group questions in the survey. This holistic approach will bring together all qualitative and quantitative data collected to develop the final instrument of the survey.
This research methodology is innovative in its scope and complexity. A review of current literature on MM highlights that different types of data collected are usually triangulated rather than mixed or integrated. Importantly, this MM research uses a combined approach throughout the research methodology. It builds a solid framework to assist in combining qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and adds rigor through integrating MM in both data collection and analysis, adding unique and new knowledge in this field.