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Views on equine-related research in Australia from the Australian equestrian community: Perceived outputs and benefits
journal contributionposted on 13.09.2018, 00:00 by Kirrilly ThompsonKirrilly Thompson, Larissa ClarksonLarissa Clarkson
OBJECTIVES: The extension of research into public practice is enhanced by communication and behaviour change strategies that are consistent with consumer needs and perspectives. To gain support for equine research (or to appreciate the perspectives contributing to disagreement), it is necessary to determine how aware consumers are of research, what research means to them, how they perceive its benefits (if at all) and how they engage with (or resist) it. Because of a surprising dearth of research evaluating consumer perceptions of research in any sector, our aim was to identify the perceived outputs and benefits of research from the perspective of the Australian horse owner. METHODS: We analysed the data for 930 participants in an online survey. RESULTS: Participants' understanding of research was associated with a broad terminology. Slightly more than half were aware of equine research that had taken place in Australia, with almost half reporting gaining some benefit, notably in relation to equine health. Although comments demonstrated an awareness of the collective benefit of research, research was made meaningful in relation to local conditions and participants' own equestrian disciplines. CONCLUSION: There is a significant opportunity for increasing awareness of Australia-based equine research and its value to owners of horses. The critical engagement with research by some owners suggests the need for communicators to present research in terms suitable for an intelligent lay audience, with clear identification of the personal and collective benefits for owners, horses and the equestrian community.