Experiences and attitudes toward scientific research among physiotherapists in Austria : a cross-sectional online survey

Kulnik, Stefan Tino, Latzke, Markus, Putz, Peter, Schlegl, Constance, Sorge, Martina and Meriaux-Kratochvila, Silvia (2020) Experiences and attitudes toward scientific research among physiotherapists in Austria : a cross-sectional online survey. Physiotherapy Theory & Practice, ISSN (print) 0959-3985 (Epub Ahead of Print)

Abstract

Research is important for the development of physiotherapy practice, but several countries have a rather short history of physiotherapy as an academic profession. This study investigated physiotherapists' experiences and attitudes toward scientific research in Austria, where physiotherapists have only been qualifying at bachelor level since 2009. A convenience sample of 597 qualified physiotherapists completed an anonymous cross-sectional online survey. Most respondents were female (n = 467, 78.2%) and in age groups between: 26-35 years (n = 149, 25.0%); 36-45 years (n = 178, 29.8%); and 46-55 years (n = 173, 29.0%). Seventeen respondents (2.8%) held doctoral degrees, and 61 (10.2%) had substantial research experience beyond undergraduate or master-level student research. More positive research attitudes were observed in participants who were male, younger, without children, had completed their physiotherapy qualification since 2009, were engaged in teaching and education, and held postgraduate degrees. Most frequently reported barriers and/or enabling factors for physiotherapy research were time, training, finances and a "critical mass" of research activity. These findings highlight low levels of research activity among physiotherapists in Austria, despite general appreciation of the importance of research for the profession. The identified attitudinal profiles, barriers, and facilitators may inform initiatives for advancing physiotherapy research in the Austrian context.

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