#Physio17: Research expert gives tips for collecting better evidence in physiotherapy studies

Overcoming the barriers of producing valid research evidence was one theme explored at the Physiotherapy UK conference, held in Birmingham on 10-11 November.


Senior research associate Ian Wellwood. Photo: Simon Hadley

Ian Wellwood, a senior research associate at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Public Health, presented the case for improving clinical physiotherapy research, in particular in clinical trials.

‘Physiotherapy is a complex intervention and physiotherapy research can be complex, costly and time consuming,’ he told delegates.

‘Small effects can be difficult to detect, so we need large samples and study designs which reduce the play of chance and minimise possible bias. Yet most physiotherapy trials are small.’

Adding to this, Dr Wellwood explained that there are often concerns around the usefulness of clinical trials. However, he argued that there were ways to address many of the factors that lead to ‘non-useful’ clinical research.

He suggested several solutions that could lead to more relevant and higher quality research. These included trial registration, more reporting of ‘negative’ results and adequate funding that would allow researchers to check and replicate previous studies.

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