Quality of Occupational Therapy Research in India - A Descriptive Review

Sureshkumar Kamalakannan*, Lakshmanan Sethuraman, Manigandan Chockalingam, Selvaraj Samuelkamaleshkumar, Shobana Devi Moorthy, Murali Krishnan Srinivasan, Jothikumar Ramakrishnan, Thirumugam Muthuvel, Karthik Mani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-95
Number of pages5
JournalThe Indian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2022
Event59th Annual National Conference of AIOTA - Virtual, Virtual, India
Duration: 11 Mar 202213 Mar 2022


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