Journal Article

Research knowledge translation in sensory integration-based therapy : exploring subjectivity of clinical expertise


Background. Clinical expertise is the mechanism through which practitioners implement other components of evidence-based practice (EBP). Within occupational therapy practice, intervention approaches that are both closely and loosely aligned with Ayres’ Theory of Sensory Integration are widespread, offering a unique opportunity to investigate the subjective nature of clinical expertise in EBP. Purpose. This qualitative study explored motivations to offer sensory integration-based interventions, and factors informing occupational therapists’ clinical decision making in relation to an arguably contentious evidence base. Method. Six post-graduate sensory integration trained UK occupational therapists participated in individual semi-structured interviews. Interviews were transcribed, member-checked and analyzed using thematic coding analysis. Findings. Despite sound understanding of theory and continuous efforts to develop clinical knowledge, non-traditional hierarchies of evidence notably inform clinical decisions. The clinical expertise required for integration of patient preferences, clinical state and circumstances, and research evidence is informed by pragmatic responses to facilitators and barriers across contexts, combined with unique profession-specific identity factors. Implications. While empirical healthcare research is ideally undertaken under controlled conditions, realities of clinical practice are rarely so clear cut. Study findings highlight important subjective factors that are central to real-world research knowledge translation and further understanding of the clinical expertise component of EBP.

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Bird, Diane Elizabeth
Rihtman, Tanya

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work


Year of publication: 2024
Date of RADAR deposit: 2024-01-19

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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