GP research for GPs @ GPDU

This oral presentation of a “pitch paper” was given at the 2017 GPTEC (General Practice Training and Education Conference), ICC Sydney, 16-17 August 2017. (presentation; abstract)

Tam CWM, Khan A, Knight A, Rhee J, Price K, Leeuwenburg T, McLean K, Higgins N. GP research for GPs @ GPDU. GPTEC (General Practice Training and Education Conference), ICC Sydney, 16-17 August 2017



“Are you a member of Australia’s underground GP college?”. Thusly proclaimed “The Medical Republic”, a GP news periodical, that the Facebook group, “GPs Down Under (GPDU)” was the “national powerhouse of direct digital GP engagement in Australian and New Zealand”.

GPDU has about 4,000 GP and GP registrar members, half of whom engage directly via posting, with about 200,000 direct engagements per year. Within this vibrant peer-to-peer environment, would it be possible to conduct GP research, for the GP community?


To describe the journey of the first research project (“How do doctors interpret p-values?”) developed through, by, and for, GPDU members.  To explore the possibilities and issues this method of research represents.


A reflective narrative of the research journey, and the seeking of comments and feedback from the audience.


One of the authors, dejected by a rejection for publication of his paper on p-values that he considered awfully clever, wrote a post on the GPDU Facebook group in October 2015 about p-values.  This triggered an incredible 107 post discussion on statistics from 42 individual GPs, punctuated by memes and nerdy webtoons.

Later, the authors, including the GPDU leadership, set out to build on the learning themes that emerged from that thread.  We developed a research project that sought to understand how experienced clinicians conceptualised p.  Our goal was to disseminate this knowledge back to GPDU members, and thus closing the loop.  The co-investigators were a group with varying levels of research and teaching experience, joined by their common desire to identify a way to provide statistical education that is better targeted to clinicians, and for it to be respectful to GPs.

Results, impacts, and reflections of the study will be reported in August 2017.


We present an example of how research could be performed at GPDU.  What other research questions could be asked?  How do we keep such research respectful to the members?

Leave a Reply