Cardiothoracic physiotherapy: levels of evidence underpinning entry-level curricula.

Marie T. Williams, Frances Hardy, Beatrice Tucker, Megan Smith, Lyndal Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In theory, educational materials should reflect the underlying source and evidence base of the curricula. The purpose of the present study was to identify the levels of evidence represented within the cardiothoracic curricula in undergraduate (entry-level) physiotherapy programmes within Australia. METHOD: Using a retrospective document review, all tertiary institutions providing entry-level physiotherapy programmes were invited to submit paper copies of course materials used during 2003 to the Centre for Allied Health Evidence (CAHE), University of South Australia. A single independent reviewer collated all references cited within the teaching materials and ranked each reference according to a hierarchy of evidence where systematic reviews were regarded as the highest level of evidence and expert opinion or case studies as the lowest level. RESULTS: A total of 974 references were cited within educational materials from the five participating universities. The number of references per university rangedfrom 71 to 256. Each ranking category was calculated as a percentage of the total number of references submitted by each university. All five universities demonstrated the same pattern of reference hierarchy where the lower levels of evidence represented approximately 70% of all references. Less than one per cent of all references were common to all five universities. CONCLUSIONS: Although auditing references cited within education material does not reflect educational process, the results from the present study provide a baseline from which to review and create strategies to strengthen the evidence base of the cardiothoracic curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiotherapy research international : the journal for researchers and clinicians in physical therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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