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Variables influencing an academic detailer's credibility in medical settings

13 December 2002


Academic detailing has been a common and successful method used to influence change in medical practice. The credibility of the detailer ( or representative) is one variable identified as contributing to the effectiveness of academic detailing and the likelihood of influencing change. While many factors of credibility have been established through past research (Hovland & Weiss, 1951; Berlo, Lemert, & Mertz, 1969; Whitehead, 1974; McCroskey & Young, 1981), these variables have not been applied to research in a medical setting. This study assessed two dimensions of credibility, perceived competence and perceived character, in order to establish which variables are more likely to influence physicians' professional practice through academic detailing. As hypothesized, the variables related to the credibility dimension of 'competence' were rated as more important to practitioners than those related to the dimension of 'character.' The variables of age and gender were rated low in importance to practitioners' perceptions of credibility, while educational level was rated as being moderately important. Males and females differed in their opinions of the importance of the credibility variables of training and expertness, with females rating them as being more important than males. Lastly, practitioners gave additional information as to what they believe makes a detailer effective.


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