Physiotherapy departments in Australian tertiary hospitals regularly participate in and disseminate research results despite a lack of allocated staff: A prospective cross-sectional survey

Elizabeth H. Skinner, Janet Hough, Yi Tian Wang, Catherine R. Hough, Alesha Southby, David A. Snowdon, Tamica Sturgess, Terry P. Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To establish the level of research activity in physiotherapy departments of Australian tertiary hospitals. Design: Prospective cross-sectional survey. Participants: Physiotherapy managers from 37 principal referral hospitals and specialist women's and children's hospitals as identified from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011). Main outcome measures: A purpose-designed predominantly open-response questionnaire investigating site demographics, research activity and research support was developed, piloted and administered. Results: Thirty-seven surveys were completed (54% response rate). Median [IQR] respondent equivalent full-time staffing was 23.8 (19-39). Respondents represented a median [IQR] 6.5 (3-20) publication output in the past 2 years. Twelve respondents (32%) reported that staff had completed a doctorate in the past 5 years and 49% of respondents reported no staff had completed higher degrees. A total of 71 grants had been received and 73% of respondents indicated they had no allocated staffing for research activity. The most common indicators of research culture were organization-led research dissemination events and research training (i.e. manager attending research events and celebrating research achievements). Conclusions: This is the first study to report on research activity in hospital-based Australian physiotherapy departments. Few sites allocate staff to conduct or support research. Despite this, physiotherapy departments regularly publish and present research results. Future studies could investigate how hospital-based physiotherapy departments can optimize research culture and output.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-206
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • Health policy
  • Health service delivery
  • Physiotherapy
  • Research

Cite this