Qualitative methods in physical therapy research: A form of disciplined inquiry

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Qualitative research methods have special relevance for physical therapy. Qualitative methods provide researchers with the tools to examine social settings and human behavior. The methods are well suited to studying the complex, multidimensional environments present in physical therapy practice and education. A thorough understanding of research methodology is a necessary prerequisite for disciplined research. This article presents an overview of the philosophy underlying qualitative research, a discussion of the application of qualitative methods, and a brief analysis of how to address reliability and validity concerns in qualitative research. Increased understanding of what qualitative research is and how it can be done should promote disciplined qualitative research in physical therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-500
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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