Research and the cumulation of knowledge in physical therapy

V. J. Robertson, Gail Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose. Published research contributes to the knowledge base that distinguishes one discipline from another. More research is now published in the physical therapy journals, but concerns with the profession's knowledge base continue. Subjects. The study examined citations from 78 clinical articles published and indexed on three thematic areas in Physical Therapy between 1951 and 1990. Methods. Unique items and multiple- cited items were identified and counted and their sources ascertained. Linkages among multiple-cited items in each thematic area were identified and described. Results. Most cited items were unique and not from the physical therapy literature. Few linkages were identified among the clinical articles. Conclusion and Discussion. The lack of evidence of cumulation or of coherence among the articles examined and the extent of reliance on non-physical therapy sources suggest that concerns with the knowledge base of the profession are well founded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-236
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995
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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