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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 91-95

Quality of occupational therapy research in India - A descriptive review

1 Department of Social Work, Education, and Community Wellbeing, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom; South-Asia Centre for Disability-Inclusive Development and Research, Public Health Foundation of India, Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 Department of Occupational Therapy, Centre for Addiction Medicine, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Health Sciences, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
4 Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
5 Smart Sensory Kids, Meenakshi Academy of Higher Education and Research, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
6 Department of Occupational Therapy, Meenakshi Academy of Higher Education and Research, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
7 Health Services Executives, Limerick, Ireland
8 Rehabilitation Research Consultancy, Karaikal, Tamil Nadu, India
9 Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Texas Medical Branch, Texas, USA

Correspondence Address:
Sureshkumar Kamalakannan
B-020 Coach Lane Campus, Department of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne – NE7 7TR
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoth.ijoth_59_22

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Background: Occupational therapy (OT) enhances functional independence in the daily activities of people with disabilities and subsequently their quality of life. Research in OT generates evidence to provide safe and effective services to the disabled. However, OT research in India has been shown to have various methodological limitations. These methodological limitations are expected to impact the quality of OT research as well as the evidence derived from this research to inform decision-making in rehabilitation. The majority of the OT research is disseminated and promoted through the All India Occupational Therapists' Association's (AIOTA) annual national conference (ANC). Analyzing the abstracts, selected for the presentation at the ANC could help understand and strategically improve the quality of OT research in India. Objectives: To explore and describe the quality of OT research in India. Study Design: Descriptive analysis. Methods: Descriptive, nonsystematic review and analysis of the key methodological aspects of the conference abstracts submitted for the AIOTA ANC published in the Indian Journal of OT (IJOT) from 2017 to 2021 was carried out. Information related to the methodological aspects of the research abstracts was extracted using a data extraction form and the data were synthesized and reported descriptively. Results: About 218 abstracts had been selected for either poster or oral presentations in the AIOTA ANC. All the abstracts were included for the review. A total of 8055 participants were recruited for the studies conducted from 2017 to 2021. About 5757 (72%) of the participants were recruited for cross-sectional studies. Nearly 72 (33%) of the abstracts presented were related to cross-sectional studies, 52 (24%) were case studies and 66 (30%) were experimental studies. However, research designs implying highest level of evidence such as systematic reviews were only 4 (2%) and randomized controlled trials were only 9 (4%) with 297 participants. Notably, 203 (98%) of the all the studies evaluating effectiveness of interventions or aiming to investigate associations reported positive results with statistically significant improvements and associations. Conclusion: The review provides invaluable information related to the quality of OT research in India. It implies the need to improve the scientific rigor of the evidence generated in relation to OT research in India. This review also implies the need for a radical change and strengthening of OT research within OT education and professional practice in India. National and global OT associations need to prioritize good quality OT research by enhancing the research skills and competencies of OTs in India. This could help promote evidence-based OT science and develop the OT profession in the world's second-most populous country. In addition, it is also expected to encourage those OT researchers who have been striving to build OT research standards in India.

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