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J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2007 Feb;30(2):109-15.

How important is research-based practice to chiropractors and massage therapists?

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Health Systems & Workforce Research Unit, Calgary Health Region, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



This study evaluated the perceptions of research, frequency of use of research findings in practice, and the level of research skills of chiropractors and massage therapists in Canada. Predictors of application of research findings in clinical practice were also explored.


A survey was mailed to members of the College of Chiropractors of Alberta (n = 833) and the Massage Therapist Association of Alberta (n = 650). Univariate and logistic regression analysis were conducted with SPSS and Stata.


A total of 483 questionnaires were returned (response rate, 32.6%). Chiropractors and massage therapists reported an overall positive perception toward research, acknowledging the importance of research to validate their practice. Although both groups felt comfortable using the library, they had little confidence in their research skills and overall application of research in practice was limited. Significant differences were found between the 2 professional groups, with chiropractors reporting more research skills and evidence-based practice. Primary discipline, frequent referral to peer-reviewed journals, and strong agreement with the statement that "research adds credibility to my discipline" were predictors of research application in practice.


It appears that in Canada neither chiropractors nor massage therapists consistently apply research in practice, which may result from a lack of research education and research skills. The differences between the 2 professional groups may be attributed to the chiropractic profession's relatively more research-focused professional training. Strategies to encourage greater research uptake and evidence-based behavior by practitioners include professional association incentives, such as education credits or practitioner cooperatives that would provide time and support for research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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