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



The objective of this study is to explore rehabilitation therapists' (physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists) clinical questions in the context of 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.

We will report the preliminary findings of this study. It is anticipated that results will reveal types of clinical questions asked by rehabilitation therapists working in stroke care as well as patterns in the structure of these questions. In addition, factors influencing the decision to pursue certain types of questions will be identified.