#Physio17: Researcher highlights difficulties accessing hard to reach groups

Speaking at the CSP’s annual conference in Birmingham, Gita Ramdharry, research lead and specialist neuromuscular physiotherapist at the Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases at University College London Hospitals, outlined some of the challenges of conducting research on rare populations or with small sample sizes.

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Specialist neuromuscular physiotherapist Gita Ramdharry. Photo: Simon Hadley

‘You might be working on a very rare condition, or looking to study a hard to reach group,’ she explained.

‘For instance, I have colleagues who are doing work on homelessness, and it can be difficult to access people to recruit. But these under-explored groups are often where the knowledge gaps are.’

Dr Ramdharry suggested several strategies that could help physiotherapy researchers to fund and recruit studies with hard to reach groups.

She told delegates to join clinical, research networks, and consider collaborative funding applications.

‘And don’t be afraid to drop an email to the names you see on research papers. You’ll be amazed how often people will respond and be happy to discuss their work.’

She highlighted the importance of reaching out to related national and international services, charities and advocacy groups.

‘Many of these organisations have funding for research,’ said Dr Ramdharry. ‘It might only been a small pot, but it could help you fund a pilot or do some feasibility or early exploratory work that you can build on.’

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by Robert Millett

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