A systematic review of the individual determinants of research evidence use in allied health
L Lizarondo, K Grimmer-Somers, S Kumar
International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Background: The use of evidence-based practice (EBP) is often not reflected in allied health (AH) practitioners’ day-to-day practice (the research-practice gap). Research suggests that considerable differences between and within AH disciplines exist, which require different approaches in order to influence practice behavior. It is therefore important to develop a better understanding of what influences individual AH practitioners’ adoption of evidence into daily practice.
Objective: This systematic review aims to examine the individual characteristics of AH practitioners which determine their uptake of evidence into practice.
Methods: Studies which examined individual factors or variables that influence research evidence use by any AH practitioner were included in the review. The methodological quality of the included papers was assessed using the Quality Assessment and Validity Tool for Cross-sectional Studies. A narrative summary of the findings was presented.
Results: Six studies were included and the methodological quality scores indicated that two were weak and the remainder had moderate–weak quality. The review demonstrated that factors such as educational degree or academic qualification, involvement in research or EBP-related activities, and practitioners’ perceptions, attitudes and beliefs about research and EBP are significant predictors of self-reported research evidence use in AH. The effect of other factors such as professional characteristics, clinical setting/work environment, information-seeking behavior and sociodemographic variables are less clear. Whether there is an interaction effect between evidence-uptake factors has not been tested.
Conclusion: Improving the research knowledge of clinicians and overcoming negative attitudes toward EBP have the potential to move AH practitioners towards regularly utilizing evidence in practice. Allied health practitioners may benefit from participation in regular educational opportunities such as case studies or journal clubs which can put them at the same level of thinking and awareness of research evidence. Future research should aim to review organizational and contextual factors and explore their interaction with individual determinants of research evidence use.
Keywords: evidence-based practice, research use, individual determinants, allied health, predictors
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