Alternative approaches to research in physical therapy: positivism and phenomenology.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

This article presents philosophical approaches to research in physical therapy. A comparison is made to demonstrate how the research purpose, research design, research methods, and research data differ when one approaches research from the philosophical perspective of positivism (predominantly quantitative) as compared with the philosophical perspective of phenomenology (predominantly qualitative). Differences between the two approaches are highlighted by examples from research articles published in Physical Therapy. The authors urge physical therapy researchers to become familiar with the tenets, rigor, and knowledge gained from the use of both approaches in order to increase their options in conducting research relevant to the practice of physical therapy.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Shepard, KF; Jensen, GM; Schmoll, BJ; Hack, LM; Gwyer, J

Published Date

  • February 1993

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 73 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 88 - 97

PubMed ID

  • 8421722

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0031-9023

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/ptj/73.2.88


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States