Perceptions of evidence-based practice: A survey of Australian occupational therapists


  • Sally Bennett BOccThy(Hons); Sessional Lecturer, PhD Scholar. Leigh Tooth PhD; NHMRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Kryss McKenna PhD; Senior Lecturer. Sylvia Rodger PhD, MEdSt; Head of Department. Jenny Strong PhD; President Academic Board, The University of Queensland. Jenny Ziviani BAppSc(OT), BA, MEd, PhD. Associate Professor. Sharon Mickan BOccThy, MA; NHMRC Public Health Postgraduate Research Scholar. Libby Gibson BOccThy; Research Assistant and PhD Scholar.

    Note: These authors form the Evidence-Based Occupational Therapy–University of Queensland Group.

Sally Bennett, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia. Email:


Evidence-based practice (EBP) requires clinicians to access, appraise and integrate research literature with clinical experience and clients’ perspectives. Currently, little is known about occupational therapists’ attitudes to EBP, their perception of implementation barriers or their educational needs. A questionnaire reflecting these issues was sent to a proportionate random sample of 1491 members of the national professional occupational therapy association, OT AUSTRALIA. The questionnaire was completed by 649 (44%) participants. Occupational therapists were positive about EBP with most (96%) agreeing that EBP is important to occupational therapy. Although 56% used research to make clinical decisions, more relied on clinical experience (96%), information from continuing education (82%) and colleagues (80%). Lack of time, evidence and skills were identified as the main barriers to the implementation of EBP. Over half (52%) expressed strong interest in EBP skills training, and most (80%) indicated an interest in the availability of brief summaries of evidence. Targeted educational initiatives, resources and systems are needed to support EBP in occupational therapy.