OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to examine how U.S. occupational therapists access and use clinically relevant research results.
METHOD. During the spring of 2000, 209 clinically practicing occupational therapists who were members of the American Occupational Therapy Association responded to a survey (58% response rate). The distribution of opinions and self-reported behavior was portrayed by descriptive statistics, and chi-square cross-tabulations and Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated between demographic and evidence-based practice variables.
RESULTS. Respondents occasionally accessed research information through a variety of resource media. The majority (57%) implemented between one and five new, research-based treatment plans in the past year. Compared with respondents with less experience, a greater proportion of respondents with 15 or more years of clinical experience did not believe that research conclusions usually translated into treatment plans for individual clients (X2 = 20.620, p < .01). Almost three fifths (59%) of respondents reported that time was provided on the job to attend continuing education; however, 45% strongly disagreed that time was available at work to access research information. Other reported barriers to research utilization included lack of time on the job, high continuing education costs, weak research analysis skills, and placing higher value on clinical experience than on research.
CONCLUSIONS. These findings suggest that therapists are currently engaging in a modest amount of evidence-based practice. Removing the barriers identified in this study may increase research utilization among clinicians.