The perception, knowledge and utilisation of research and its role in the chiropractic profession as determined by chiropractors attending the World Federation of Chiropractic biennial conference 2013
d'Hotman de Villiers, Jason
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Background The Chiropractic profession is considered a form of complementary and alternative therapy which began as a vitalistic approach to health care. Over the years research has become a main focus of the profession in order to validate its claims for its treatment modalities, with the profession having made advances in producing high quality research (Newell and Cunliffe, 2003). In an era of evidenced based practice medical professionals are required to use research findings to guide their practice therefore their perceptions towards using research are important to ascertain. Although there is some literature on Chiropractors' perception of research most studies focus on specific regional populations. Very few if any studies have assessed perceptions of research from different Chiropractic populations at the same time. The aim of this study was to determine the perception, knowledge and utilisation of research and its role in the Chiropractic profession as determined by Chiropractic delegates attending an international Chiropractic conference. In order to provide information to the profession as to how Chiropractors from varying regions perceive research and to see if the shift seen in other health care professions towards evidence based practice is seen in the chiropractic profession. Method This quantitative, cross sectional, descriptive survey was administered to Chiropractic delegates attending the World Federation of Chiropractic biennial conference 2013 in Durban, South Africa. The questionnaire was compiled by using the available literature and validated by means of a focus group and pilot testing. The questionnaire was administered to the delegates as part of their delegate packs at the conference and was made available electronically via SurveyMonkey© after the conference. Participants were required to give written informed consent prior to partaking in the research. The research protocol was approved by the Durban University of Technology Institutional Research Ethics Committee (REC 26/13). On completion the questionnaire and the signed letter of information and consent were deposited into separate sealed containers at the conference or stored on SurveyMonkey© . When the study closed, data was coded into an excel spread sheet and imported into IBM SPSS version 21 for statistical analysis. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse the data Results A response rate of 34.48% (n = 140) was obtained. More than half of the respondents were male (52.2%), from the African region (51.1%), in possession of a master's degree in Chiropractic (51.4%), and were involved in professional chiropractic practice (60.7%). The respondents had a favourable perception towards research (51.4%), with almost all respondents perceiving that research was essential to the progression of the Chiropractic profession (97.5%). A more favourable perception of research was found in those who were from Europe as opposed to Africa (p = 0.001) and had an evidence based practice (EBP) philosophical orientation as opposed to a mixer or straight approach (p < 0.001). Overall the respondents displayed an adequate knowledge of research terminology (59.2%), with those from Europe as opposed to Africa (p = 0.001) having improved research knowledge along with those who had an EBP philosophical orientation (p < 0.001) compared to the straights and mixer approaches. In terms of research utilisation the respondents showed a high utilisation of research to improve clinical practice (88.9%), for self-development (90.1%) and to change their approach to conditions, polices and practice in their area of the Chiropractic profession (83%). There was a trend that being from Europe, North America and Australisia resulted in high research utilisation than those from Africa and Asia. The effectiveness of Chiropractic care for various musculoskeletal conditions was seen as the primary research focus area for the profession (95.1%), with 75% of the respondents wanting the profession to move in the direction of science as opposed to a philosophical focus. The respondents perceived research to play an integral role within Chiropractic by promoting its acceptance among other health care professionals (87%) and by third party payers (70%). Conclusion The respondents in this study had a favourable perception, knowledge and utilisation of research and supported the role of research and science in the future of the Chiropractic profession. Future studies should be conducted on more diverse groups of Chiropractors to see if the findings of this study are replicated, as well as investigate the disparity observed between developed and developing countries.