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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-20

Research profile of physiotherapy undergraduates in Nigeria

Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Ade F Adeniyi
Department of Physiotherapy, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.112795

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Objectives: Physiotherapy training in Nigeria is almost 50 years old with no history of appraisal of research projects produced by the physiotherapy students. Physiotherapy students complete research projects in partial fulfilment of the requirements for graduation. An appraisal will reveal areas of strength and weakness in the research requirement for students, potentially leading to better research capacity and promoting evidence-based clinical practice among graduates. This study describes issues related to the study design, scope, statistical analysis and supervision of physiotherapy undergraduates in Nigerian universities. Methods: This retrospective study analysed 864 projects undertaken by Nigerian physiotherapy students between years 2000 and 2010. A maximum of 20 projects per academic year were randomly selected from each of the seven physiotherapy institutions in Nigeria. Data were obtained using a self-designed data retrieval form and analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results: Cross-sectional surveys constituted 47.6% of the research projects with mainly non-probability sampling (57.7%) and lack of objective sample size determination in 91.6% of the projects. Most projects (56.4%) did not report any ethical approval. The particular university attended (χ2 = 109.5, P = 0.0001), type of degree offered (χ2 = 47.24, P = 0.00001) and the academic qualification of supervisors (χ2 = 21.99, P = 0.001) were significantly related to the strength of the research design executed by students. Conclusions: Most research projects carried out by Nigerian physiotherapy students were cross-sectional, characterised by arbitrary sample sizes, and were conducted on human subjects but most without report of ethical approval. Efforts to improve research methodology, documentation and exploration of a wider range of research areas are needed to strengthen this educational experience for students.

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