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Rehabilitation therapists’ clinical questions: Preliminary results of an exploratory study

Lorie A. Kloda and Joan C. Bartlett

(Submission #24)


The objective of this study is to explore rehabilitation therapists’ (physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists) clinical questions for evidence-based patient care. Specifically, this research attempts to answer the following questions: How do rehabilitation therapists articulate their information needs? Does the evidence-based practice framework’s clinical question structure of problem - intervention - comparison - outcome adequately represent the information needs of rehabilitation therapists? Why do rehabilitation therapists pursue some of their clinical questions and not others?

Taking a qualitative approach, this research will employ self-report journaling followed by semi-structured interviews of approximately fifteen rehabilitation therapists working in stroke care. Informants will be asked to record their clinical questions for a period of one or two weeks, after which interviews will be conducted to elicit more specific information about their clinical questions, and to determine reasons for pursuing some of these and not others.

Preliminary findings of this study, beginning in spring 2009, will be reported. It is anticipated that results will elicit a typology of clinical questions asked by rehabilitation therapists working in stroke care, as well as reveal patterns in the structure of these questions. In addition, factors which may influence the decision to pursue certain types of questions will be identified.


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