Aim: As a sample of research outputs supported by the nutrition and dietetics profession in Australia, the present study aimed to conduct a content analysis of Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) conference abstracts to identify themes, methods and contribution by geographical location over time.
Methods: Conference abstracts published during the period 2008-2018 (excluding those from the International Congress of Dietetics in 2012) were obtained. Key outcome data including topics of research and methodological approach were extracted. Leximancer, a computer-assisted content analysis program, was used in the development of concept maps. Thematic analysis was undertaken independently by two authors and consensus was obtained.
Results: A total of 2246 oral and poster presentation abstracts and 56 plenary abstracts were imported and synthesised. The most commonly utilised research designs were cross-sectional studies and evaluation research. There was a significant increase in the proportion of systematic literature reviews, and a decreasing proportion of randomised controlled trials presented across the study period. Output was greatest from authors in Queensland and New South Wales. A clear spike in abstracts was observed for the host state across all years. Since 2015 concept maps appeared more interconnected, suggesting a trend for research focus towards integrated nutrition topics. Overarching themes for emerging research topics included Indigenous nutrition and the curriculum for dietetics education. Food/foods emerged as a theme across multiple research methods and in a wide range of contexts and settings.
Conclusions: The synthesis of findings suggests that research presented at the DAA conference is largely practice driven.