International identification of research priorities for postgraduate theses in musculoskeletal physiotherapy using a modified Delphi technique

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


Research priorities are established to identify gaps and maximise opportunities in developing an evidence base. Numerous postgraduate research theses are undertaken each year within the specialist area of musculoskeletal physiotherapy, and although some are published, greater potential for influence exists. This paper identifies international research priorities for postgraduate theses developed using a consensual Delphi process. A purposive sample included course tutors and expert clinicians nominated by Member Organisations of the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (N = 91). Round I requested > 10 priorities for theses, and content analysis identified research themes. Round 2 requested participants rank the importance of each theme on a 1-5 scale, and round 3 requested ranking the importance and feasibility of the research question areas within each agreed theme. Descriptive analysis and use of Kendall's coefficient of concordance enabled interpretation of consensus. The response rate of 68% was good, identifying 23 research themes in round 1. Round 2 identified 14 research themes as important. Participant rating of the importance and feasibility of research question areas in round 3 supported 43 agreed priorities demonstrating good measurement validity. Establishing priorities provides a vision of how postgraduate theses can contribute to the developing evidence base and offer a focus for international collaboration. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
JournalManual Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2009


  • Research priorities, Musculoskeletal physiotherapy, Masters, Clinical practice, Orthopaedic manipulative physiotherapy, Expertise, Manipulative physiotherapy