Systematic reviews of occupational therapy interventions: summarizing research evidence and highlighting the gaps

Katie Hackett, Julia Newton, Tim Rapley, Katherine Deane, Vincent Deary, Wan-Fai Ng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


As services are commissioned based on effectiveness, occupational therapists are under pressure to demonstrate the efficacy of their interventions. Occupational therapists also need to know that the interventions they are providing are effective. Robertson et al (2013) demonstrated that the occupational therapy literature is important for clinicians and is an essential part of their practice. However, as more research is published, it can be increasingly time-consuming and confusing for clinicians to keep abreast of the current literature. Occupational therapy-related research may be published in different forms, in a range of locations, and be of varying methodological quality. Furthermore, readily available published studies that investigate occupational therapy efficacy may not be sufficiently powered, or may lack external validity, when applied to different clinical settings. When well conducted, systematic reviews provide a useful way of synthesizing and evaluating the evidence on a particular topic and, to some extent, provide a solution to this problem. This paper focuses upon reviews of randomized controlled trials, as these provide the highest quality of evidence on the question of a particular intervention’s effectiveness. The merits of reviews of qualitative studies are also considered, together with the possibility of combining more than one type of review.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-482
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2014

Cite this