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Am J Occup Ther. 2006 Sep-Oct;60(5):524-30.

Searches and content of the OTseeker database: informing research priorities.

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  • 1Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Services, University of Queensland, Australia.



A strategic and prioritized approach to occupational therapy research is needed, particularly given the limited research funding available. Comparing occupational therapists' information needs with the research evidence available can potentially inform research debate within the profession. This study aimed to identify research topics most often sought by users of the OTseeker database and to compare these with the quantity of topics available in the database.


A random sample of keyword search terms submitted to OTseeker (n= 4,500) was coded according to diagnostic and intervention categories, and compared with the amount of research contained in OTseeker in 2004.


Most frequently sought topics were relevant to the diagnostic categories of pediatric conditions (19%), neurology and neuromuscular disorders (17%), and mental health (17%). Most frequently sought intervention topics included modes of service delivery, sensory interventions, and physical modalities. Although many frequently sought topics had a correspondingly high volume of research in OTseeker, a few areas had very little content (e.g., fine motor skill acquisition, autistic spectrum disorder). This information is offered to inform discussions about research priorities and resource allocation for research within occupational therapy.

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