Skip to main content

Table 2 Study characteristics (N = 27)

From: Research-based education in undergraduate occupational therapy and physiotherapy education programmes: a scoping review

First author and year of publication Country Title Design/purpose Participants Context Main study findings
Bannigang 2009 [41] Canada A Model of Professional Thinking: Integrating Reflective Practice and Evidence-Based Practice A model presentation Occupational therapy education Classroom Rather than teaching reflective practice and EBP as discrete subjects, ‘professional thinking’ should be taught as an overarching topic within curricula.
Boruff 2011 [42] Canada Integrating Evidence-Based Practice and Information Literacy Skills in Teaching Physical and Occupational Therapy Students A librarian and a faculty member designed an instructional activity that included a lecture, workshop and assignment that integrated EBP skills in the first year of the programme Occupational therapy and physical therapy students (n = 104) Classroom The teaching activities developed for the students in this course appear to have achieved the goal of teaching students the EBP research cycle so that they might begin to emulate it. The collaboration between the faculty member and the librarian was integral to the success of this endeavour.
Burger 2014 [43] South Africa Integrating Evidence-Based Principles Into the Undergraduate Physiotherapy Research Methodology Curriculum: Reflections on a New Approach Qualitative International experts Classroom Conducting a systematic review or meta-analysis to teach undergraduate students research methodology provides the opportunity for physiotherapy students to acquire basic research skills and become clinicians who provide EBP services.
Charumbira 2021 [34] South Africa Research Competencies for Undergraduate Rehabilitation Students: A Scoping Review Scoping review Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy students Classroom A set of 45 research competencies were identified. It remains unclear which of these should be prioritized in the rehabilitation curriculum. This set may guide future consensus statements and allow educators to identify gaps in the curriculum.
Chia 2012 [44] United Kingdom What’s in a Journal Club? Qualitative
Grey literature
Occupational therapy students Classroom Participation in journal clubs at an early stage provides a foundation for engagement with professional literature and the recognition of the importance of EBP.
Da Roit 2016 [45] Italy Undergraduate Physiotherapy Students’ Competencies After a Reorganization of the Educational Pathways in EBP: Time and Type of Activity Are Relevant? Quantitative comparative design (between first-, second- and third-year students) in physiotherapy
Grey literature (paper presented at the 4th European Congress of the ER-WCPT/Physiotherapy)
Physiotherapy students (n = 101) Classroom A new multi-modal educational pathways was less effective in educating students in EBP; main reasons may be the reduction in amount of time dedicated to EBP, the lack of journal club activities and the lack of a formal assessment in the first year.
Du Toit 2010 [46] South Africa Role of Research in Occupational Therapy Clinical Practice: Applying Action Learning and Action Research in Pursuit of Evidence-Based Practice Qualitative Occupational therapy students Clinical placements Engagement in small-scale research projects during clinical placements encouraged students’ engagement in research.
Emery 1999 [47] United States Use of the Student-Oriented Learning Outline in Research Education
Brief report
Mixed-methods investigation of how the Student-Oriented Learning Outline (SOLO) can be used to facilitate student learning in a research course Occupational therapy students (n = 88) Classroom Although this use of the SOLO was limited to one institution, experience suggests that over four semesters, the SOLO was effective in helping to structure the research course to facilitate student learning.
Frantz 2009 [48] South Africa Perceived Attitudes and Benefits Towards Teaching Evidence Based Practice among Physiotherapy Lecturers at Tertiary Institutions in South Africa Quantitative within-stage mixed-model approach Physiotherapy faculty members (n = 76) among 8 institutions Classroom Although the majority of respondents demonstrated a positive attitude towards teaching EBP, they reported finding it difficult to implement in practice. Despite barriers for teaching EBP, physiotherapy educators are encouraged to be proactive by improving teaching and encouraging teaching based on current, relevant research.
Govender 2019 [49] South Africa Making Sense of Knowing: Knowledge Creation and Translation in Student Occupational Therapy Practitioners.
Short research report
Pilot study (an exploration of occupational therapy students’ experiences in accessing, implementing and applying current knowledge in their clinical practice as students) Final-year occupational therapy students (n = 24) Clinical placements Students seemed to have a general understanding of KT and initiated strategies that are simple and accessible, most of which related to gaining insight into specific intervention in occupational therapy practice.
Halle 2021 [50] Canada Building Evidence-Based Practice Competencies among Rehabilitation Students: A Qualitative Exploration of Faculty and Preceptors’ Perspectives Qualitative 7 focus groups and 1 individual interview with a sample of 24 faculty and 15 preceptors (i.e., clinical instructors) Faculty and preceptors in occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech-language Classroom and clinical placements Improving collaboration between faculty and preceptors constitutes an essential first step towards more effective EBP training programmes that could be facilitated through online communities of practice or integrated knowledge translation research projects.
Helgøy 2020 [51] Norway Research-Based Occupational Therapy Education: An Exploration of Students’ and Faculty Members’ Experiences and Perceptions Qualitative focus groups Occupational therapy final year students (n = 18) and faculty members (n = 12) Classroom and clinical placements Research was described as an important aspect of the occupational therapy bachelor programme to ensure necessary competence for offering future best practice. Students expressed a need to be introduced to research early and for higher expectations to be set regarding research. Competence in research methods and the importance of role models were also highlighted.
Hjelle 2008 [52] Norway Integrating Evidence-Based Practice in an Occupational Therapy Programme in Bergen To describe how EBP has been implemented in teaching and to describe research-based knowledge in relation to learning goals Occupational therapy education Occupational therapy education There should be clear EBP competence goals and a progression, and research-based knowledge needs to be highlighted to a larger degree in the curriculum. The occupational therapy programme has a responsibility to ensure students’ learning of EBP skills.
Johnson 2020 [53] Norway An Exploration of Evidence-Based Practice Work Files for Occupational Therapy Students during Clinical Placements: A Descriptive Cross-Sectional Study Quantitative cross-sectional study Second-year occupational therapy students (n = 126) Clinical placements Although few students were engaged in EBP, they all reacted positively to it. The students believed that EBP resulted in best clinical care for patients, but they lacked confidence in their own ability to apply EBP.
Lennon 2019 [54] Ireland ‘The More You Did, the More it Made Sense’: Problem-Based Learning to Improve Early Evidence-Based Practice in an Undergraduate Physiotherapy Professional Programme Mixed methods Physiotherapy undergraduate students completing stage 2 of a four-stage, entry-level professional programme Classroom Problem-based learning (PBL) is effective at promoting early EBP. Students identified with the interactive, collaborative, and experiential nature of PBL for EBP instruction.
Marais 2019 [55] Australia Perceived Enablers and Constraints of Motivation to Conduct Undergraduate Research in a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences: What Role Does Choice Play? Qualitative exploratory descriptive study; semi-structured interviews Five undergraduate programmes (human nutrition, occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language and hearing therapy (the allied health programmes). Students (n = 10) and staff members (n = 11) Classroom To optimize student engagement in research, careful scaffolding of research activities need to be provided, allowing for sufficient choice to enable students to meet their needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
McEvoy 2011 [56] Australia Entry-Level Evidenced-Based Practice Training in Physiotherapy Students: Does it Change Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviours? A Longitudinal Study Quantitative cross-sectional study Entry-level bachelor’s (n = 72) and master’s physiotherapy students (n = 15) Classroom Completion of EBP courses resulted in significant change in all self-reported domains: relevance, sympathy, terminology, practice, confidence and actual knowledge.
Mercer 2002 [57] New Zealand Academic Freedom in Physiotherapy Teaching Opinion piece
Grey literature
Physiotherapy education Classroom Academic freedom means the teaching staff’s right to be active in research and to have this research inform their teaching. All facets of physiotherapy education should be driven by cutting-edge research and reflect EBP.
Murphy 2019 [58] Australia Improving Evidence-Based Practice in Healthcare Courses: A Participatory Action Research Multiple-Case Study Qualitative grey literature
Participatory action research methodology
Faculty members in a bachelor programme for nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy Curriculum for a bachelor programme in nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy All three courses already had strong references to EBP. Identified weakness included a lack of explicit teaching about the meaning, principles, steps and importance of EBP. A relative lack of emphasis on certain EBP steps was also noted, raising concerns about variable EBP education quality across clinical placements. Participatory Action Research seemed to be a highly constructive approach to EBP curriculum improvement.
Olsen 2013 [59] Norway Evidence based practice in clinical physiotherapy education: a qualitative interpretive description Qualitative focus groups: students’ use of EBP in clinical placements Physiotherapy students (n = 16), clinical instructors (n = 9) and visiting teachers (n = 4) Clinical placements Students made an effort to search for research evidence and to apply the knowledge during clinical placements. However, they tended to lean on their clinical instructors and were more eager to gain practical experience than research information. Collaboration between academic and clinical practice is needed to improve competence in EBP among clinical instructors.
Olsen 2014 [60] Norway Evidence-Based Practice Exposure and Physiotherapy Students’ Behavior During Clinical Placements: A Survey Quantitative cross-sectional study Third year physiotherapy students (N = 180) who had recently completed a clinical placement Clinical placements An association between the level of EBP exposure and physiotherapy students’ behavior was found for elements such as asking and searching, the ability to search for and critically appraise research evidence, and experience of critical appraisal as a barrier.
Snibsøer 2018 [61] Norway Evidence-Based Practice Profiles Among Bachelor Students in Four Health Disciplines: A Cross-Sectional Study Quantitative cross-sectional study using the Evidence-Based Practice Profile—Norwegian version Final-year bachelor students in health disciplines from four educational institutions: occupational therapy, physiotherapy, nursing and radiography (n = 707) Classroom Bachelor students in health disciplines found EBP relevant, but revealed low understanding of EBP terminology, low confidence with EBP skills and low use of EBP in clinical situations. Educational institutions should develop comprehensive curricula where EBP teaching and learning is integrated throughout the entire study programme.
Thomas 2011 [62] Canada Evidence-Based Practice: A Review of Theoretical Assumptions and Effectiveness of Teaching and Assessment Interventions in Health Professions Review A review of theoretical assumptions and effectiveness of teaching and assessment interventions in health professions   To successfully teach EBP, learning must be embedded within a socially constructed environment using authentic problems. EBP steps included in teaching and case-based methods have great potential for evoking both the knowledge and skills required for evidence-based decision-making.
Thomas 2012 [63] Canada Evidence-Based Practice Behaviors: A Comparison Amongst Occupational Therapy Students and Clinicians Quantitative cross-sectional study Occupational therapy students (n = 51) and occupational therapy clinicians (n = 11) Classroom The study findings indicate that students showed a greater breadth of knowledge of the process of EBP as taught in the academic programme compared to clinicians.
West 2016 [64] United Kingdom Exploring the Barriers and Facilitators to Evidence-Based Practice in Clinical Physiotherapy Education: A Qualitative Study Qualitative semi-structured interview
Grey literature (conference paper)
Final-year physiotherapy students Clinical placements The findings from this project support the need for å shift in research culture and the way it is demonstrated to students. Further efforts need to be made to include EBP in the practical curriculum whilst students are on placements.
Wu 2007 [65] Taiwan Teaching Evidence-Based Practice to Occupational Therapy Students During Psychiatry Fieldwork: A Curriculum at a University Hospital in Taiwan Paper that describes the curriculum design of a university hospital in Taiwan employing EBP to future therapists Occupational therapy students, faculty members and clinical instructors are in focus Occupational therapy students, faculty members and clinical instructors are in focus Based on the preliminary results of this curriculum, fieldwork education seems an ideal platform to train occupational therapy students in developing the habit of EBP.
Yousefi-Nooraie 2007 [66] Iran Teaching Evidence-Based Practice: The Teachers Consider the Content Delphi study EBP teachers (n = 51) Classroom EBP courses should be simplified and critical appraisal should be limited to studies about therapy, and statistical measures should be reserved for advanced levels. Introduction to systematic reviews and searching for appraised evidence resources should be covered earlier in EBP courses.