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Title: Proliferation of the WReN spider, an instrument to measure health professionals’ experience of research : a bibliographic study
Authors: Puerta, Lidia Luna
Apfelbacher, Christian
Smith, Helen
Keywords: Research Skills
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Luna Puerta, L., Apfelbacher, C., & Smith, H. (2019). Proliferation of the WReN spider, an instrument to measure health professionals’ experience of research: a bibliographic study. BMC Medical Education, 19(1), 255-. doi:10.1186/s12909-019-1693-9
Series/Report no.: BMC Medical Education
Abstract: Background: In 1997 the “Wessex Research Network (WReN) Spider” was developed and validated to assess the research experience of general practice based researchers. This bibliometric study traces the use and development of this instrument over 15 years. Methods: We performed a bibliographic search to identify all the citations of the original article since 2002. Results: Thirty one relevant papers were found. Publications were classified according to whether they used (N = 18) or cited (N = 13) the WReN Spider. The majority of these papers came from Australia (N = 18) and 10 papers focussed on the research training of Allied Health Professionals. The WReN Spider was used in 12 studies to assess baseline experience before a training intervention or to compare before and after training scores. The WReN Spider was often (N = 9) modified to additionally assess interest, confidence or interest in up-skilling in each of its 10 limbs. It was also often (N = 14) used in tandem with open ended questions to gain a more detailed understanding of people’s research skills, or with additional questions focussing on the research context, culture and team. None of the papers confirmed the validation of the WReN Spider, although it was applied in contexts that differed from the one in which it was developed. Conclusions: The WReN Spider continues to be used to measure the research experience of health care practitioners, but it is frequently enhanced with other questions to look at the wider issues of research success, including collaborators, resource and environment.
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-019-1693-9
Rights: © 2019 The Author(s). This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:LKCMedicine Journal Articles

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