Programmatic research. A desirable (or despotic?) nursing strategy for the future
Programmatic research is a planned and purposeful strategy in the development of a nursing discipline. We discuss the case made for programmatic research by international scholars as a determinant of scholarship and professional advancement, as well as issues about whether it should be knowledge or methods driven. As an example, the development of a clinical program involving the establishment of ‘nursing beds’ in the United Kingdom is described, together with a published critique of the program. While the literature portrays an overwhelmingly positive outlook for programmatic research, there are some cautionary tales to be told. We address these by way of the literature and personal experience-especially relating to tensions created by fixed research agendas, inability of researchers to follow their own research interests and funding difficulties. Potential disadvantages of programmatic research are also included. We conclude with suggestions as to how research students, early career researchers, and experienced researchers might become involved with programmatic research in positive ways.