Book Review


Title: Rehabilitation Research: Principles and Applications
Editors: Russell E. Carter, EdD, PT, Jay Lubinsky, PhD, Elizabeth Domholdt, EdD
Publisher: Elsevier; Number of pages: 399
Reviewed by: Phil Stevens, MEd, CPO, FAAOP

In the fall of 2007, the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists presented the first iteration of the Certificate Program, Justifying Patient Care, in which the principles of evidenced-based practice and the consumption of published research were presented. Following this initial offering, the program was condensed and for the next two years was presented to interested audiences in both national and regional educational conferences. It also has been recorded and packaged onto the Paul E. Leimkuehler Online Learning Center.

For those who enjoyed this educational offering in any of its forms, whether the emerging student or resident, the concerned educator or residency mentor, or the experienced practitioner looking to incorporate evidence-based findings into personal practice or delve into the world of carefully documented single-subject research, Rehabilitation Research: Principles and Applications contains an expanded offering of the principles of how to both conduct and apply research within the rehabilitation community. It also would serve as a valuable reference text.

The text begins with an obligatory overview section: Research Fundamentals. In addition to defining the research process, the various barriers to its execution, and its underlying theories, this section contains a concise introduction to evidence-based practice; thoughts on its proper institution as well as its limitations; guidance on how to properly evaluate research studies; an overview on finding research literature, including an overview of electronic databases within rehabilitation and their proper navigation; and timely information on research ethics, including the emerging importance of informed consent in rehabilitation research.

With these fundamentals established, the text proceeds with a more in-depth analysis of several individual components of research design including: various research paradigms (quantitative, qualitative and single subject), variables, validity, and sampling considerations. From here the text devotes separate sections to experimental and non-experimental research techniques. These are followed by considerations of larger-scale research modalities, with individual chapters devoted to epidemiology, outcomes research, and survey techniques.

From here, the text proceeds with individual sections on both measurement and data analysis. These sections provide a review of basic statistics and many of the statistical analyses encountered in research literature. These are followed by a very practical section on how to be a better consumer of research including a chapter devoted to the evaluation of individual articles, followed by a chapter on synthesizing bodies of evidence. The text concludes with a section on implementing, publishing, and presenting research findings.

In summary: The strength of the text lies in the breadth of its coverage, since it provides a thorough, but concise, review of rehabilitative research. Those within the prosthetic and orthotic community that have an interest in this aspect of the field will find this book to be a reliable reference.

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