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Physiotherapy Research Priorities: how are they defined and what is expected?

Research Agenda in Physiotherapy

At a glance


The aim of this study was to establish physiotherapy research priorities in Switzerland considering multiple stakeholders’ opinions. The following stakeholder groups were surveyed in the German-speaking, French-speaking and Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland: physiotherapy researchers, practitioners and educators, representatives of patient organizations, public health organizations, health insurers, physicians, nurses, occupational therapists and other health professionals, as well as physical educators. A mixed methods design was chosen. For a qualitative identification of physiotherapy research topics, 18 focus group discussions and 23 semi-structured interviews/written commentaries were conducted. For the quantitative analysis, 293 participants prioritized research topics using a two-round Delphi questionnaire survey. The top three overall physiotherapy research priorities identified were as follows: physiotherapy assessment and diagnosis, physiotherapy treatment and prevention. With regard to diagnostic groups, the highest priorities were placed on musculoskeletal disorders and orthopaedics, neurology, and geriatrics. An in-depth analysis of the qualitative data provided insight into key aspects for moving physiotherapy profession forwards: identity, interdisciplinarity and visibility of the profession.


Nast, I., Barbero, M., Schoeb, V., Tal, A., Masotti, B., Rau, B., Schmid, S., & Kool, J. (2015). Swiss Research Priorities: Views of the various stakeholders. Physiotherapy Research International, 21 (3), 137-146.

Schoeb, V., Rau, B., Nast, I., Schmid, S., Barbero, M., Tal, A., & Kool, J. (2014). How do Patients, Politicians, Physiotherapists and Other Health Professionals View Physiotherapy Research in Switzerland? A Qualitative Study. Physiotherapy Research International, 19 (2), 79-92.