Mentoring and coaching in promoting publications in the Department of Physiotherapy at a local university in South Africa

14 Dec 2010

A growing shift towards research and evidence based practice in academia is associated with requirements to disseminate research results in the form of publication in peer reviewed journals. Mentoring has been identified as an important component of developing young authors, as it increases confidence and competence, and facilitates professional development. This led to the formation of a support group to stimulate peer-review publication in the physiotherapy department at the University of the Western Cape. The Kirkpatrick Framework of Evaluation was used to evaluate the success of the mentoring process which made use of a participatory action research methodology. The writing group consisted of nine academic members of staff and took place over ten weeks. The programme included writing, giving feedback, discussion and peer review on a weekly basis. Focus group discussions were taped and transcribed in order to evaluate the mentoring process by identifying relationships within the data and categorising key concepts, which were shaped into a thematic framework. The findings indicated that participants experienced a variety of emotions throughout the programme, with an overall feeling of personal growth by the end. In addition, participants also reported improved writing, reviewing and communication skills. Six months following the programme, six participants had submitted at least one article to a peer reviewed journal. It is clear from this study that some academics still find the task of writing and reviewing articles daunting, and that guidance and support in the form of a writing programme can be useful.