Feasibility and Acceptability of a Virtual Journal Club to Improve Research Literacy in Physiotherapists.


Being able to provide Evidence Based Healthcare (EBHC) relies on Physiotherapists being able to critically appraise research. However, a systematic review identified Physiotherapists have identified a lack of research skills and time as barriers to Physiotherapists implementing EBHC. A journal club can be used to facilitate critical appraisal skills, but can be time resource heavy. Therefore, a Virtual Journal Club (VJC) was proposed as it would negate the need for travel time, but still facilitate critical appraisal skills. The primary aim was:

· To explore acceptability and feasibility of a VJC to increase confidence in critically appraising research.

The secondary aim was:

· To provide pilot study data to guide sample size calculations for future research that would be able to examine if a VJC could promote EBHC in Physiotherapists

4.55 (95% CI 3.58 – 5.51)
Self-reported mean confidence at the start.
7.09 (95% CI 6.62 – 7.56).
Self reported mean confidence following the session.


A mixed- methods approach was devised to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a VJC. A confidence scale from 0 – 10 was used at the beginning and end of a single VJC to assess change in confidence. A questionnaire was sent to all participating physiotherapists capturing feasibility data such as ease of access and confidence using a Likert scale.


Results: Of approximately 60 physios invited, 12 Physiotherapists completed the VJC. Self-reported mean confidence at the start was 4.55 (95% CI 3.58 – 5.51) and increased to a mean of 7.09 (95% CI 6.62 – 7.56). Although the sample is too small to provide strong evidence, the difference was found to be significant (Wilcoxon Matched Pairs Signed Ranks Test Z = -2.992, p = 0.003). 10 Physiotherapists completed the questionnaire (Response rate 92%);

· 54.6% agreed / strongly agreed the session was easy to access.

· 63.7% felt the use of Skype did not reduce the usefulness of the session.

· 100% agreed / strongly agreed that they could interact with the speaker.

· 54.5% had been able to access the paper prior to the session.

· 90% agreed / strongly agreed that they could see and hear the session.

100% of Physiotherapists felt they were able to read and appraise a systematic review following the session.

Conclusion(s): The findings suggest that a VJC is a viable and innovative method of providing a learning opportunity that aims to increase research literacy amongst Physiotherapists. This would serve to equip Physiotherapists with skills required to develop their EBHC awareness. Physiotherapists found the format useful and were able to manage the technical requirements to access the session. Preliminary data also suggest that further evaluation is worthwhile to establish the effectiveness of this approach in improving EBHC.

Cost and savings

No further information.


This service evaluation has demonstrated VJCs are a promising tool in providing Physiotherapists with the skills needed to develop in a fast changing healthcare environment. If effective, it would reduce unnecessary travel time and support our remote working Physiotherapists while providing access to CPD in an innovative and accessible way.

Top three learning points

No further information.

Funding acknowledgements

This service evaluation was unfunded. The author is an employee of Nuffield Health and all time used to design methodologies, collect data, analyse and write-up was completed within salaried hours.