Synthesising knowledge for physiotherapy practice. Key steps towards review methodology

Paul Beenen*, Alexandre Castro-Caldas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: One of the consequences of rethinking evidence-based practice in physiotherapy is acknowledging the complexity and the different kinds of knowledge used in the decision-making of physiotherapists. This has profound consequences for the kinds of knowledge that should be researched and synthesised in order to inform practice. Methods: A critical review of review methodology was carried out and results were interpreted using narrative synthesis. Findings: This article focuses on how to generalise (synthesise) different kinds of knowledge with the available review methodology in order to adequately inform physiotherapy practice. It does so by suggesting a set of key steps and offering a brief overview of review methodology. Conclusions: More awareness and use of the diversity in review methodology in physiotherapy can improve theory building and inform practice better. Reviewers could increase the impact of their studies by focusing more on the external validity of methods and results. The article finishes with recommendations for improving the critical use of different review methodologies for physiotherapy practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-217
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2017


  • Evidence-based practice
  • Knowledge synthesis
  • Review methodology
  • Theory building
  • Understanding of practice


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