The influence of a topic-specific, research-based presentation on physical therapists' beliefs and practices regarding evidence-based practice.
One of the components of evidence-based practice (EBP) is reading the literature. The purpose of this investigation was 1) to determine which publications are read most frequently by physical therapists (PTs), 2) to identify employment and education characteristics related to reading patterns, and 3) to determine how PTs use information gained from reading professional publications. A survey was constructed, pretested, revised, and then mailed to a random sample of 1,000 physical therapists, 500 from the general American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) membership and 500 from the combined Geriatric and Orthopedic section memberships. The data were analyzed with descriptive statistics. After all mailings, 43.3% of the sample responded. Of those responding, 66.3% were employed as clinicians, 14.7% as clinician-administrators, 6% as educators, and 4.9% as administrators. Overall, and for clinicians, the two most frequently read professional publications were non peer-reviewed. For clinician groups "patient management" was among the top two most selected uses of information from reading professional publications. Educators and those with an advanced doctorate indicated "class lectures" as either their second most frequently selected use or tied for first with "keeping current." Only educators and those with or pursuing an advanced doctorate reported using information from reading professional publications for "research ideas" or "research methods" among their top five uses. Slightly more than 10% of the respondents cited a peer-reviewed published article as having been most influential on their practice. Non peer-reviewed professional publications appear to serve as a more frequent source of information for "patient management" than do peer-reviewed publications. Efforts to increase the use of EBP need to be explored and evaluated for impact on physical therapists' practice.