Conceptions of physiotherapy knowledge among Swedish physiotherapists: a phenomenographic study

Ingalill Larsson, Gunvor Gard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (SciVal)


Objectives and design Knowledge in physiotherapy is based on both scientific evidence and clinical practice. Different perspectives of knowledge generate different implications for theory development. The aim of this qualitative, phenomenographic study was to describe physiotherapists' conceptions of physiotherapy knowledge. Intervention and participants Open, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 physiotherapists working in different sectors of physiotherapy. The transcribed material was analysed according to phenomenographic analysis. Results The physiotherapists' conceptions of various aspects of physiotherapy knowledge are described by four qualitatively different categories: (a) interaction, i.e. the ability to create opportunities for patients and develop patients' competencies, equally influenced by both theoretical and practical knowledge, with a patient-oriented perspective conceiving the physiotherapist as a coach; (b) personal competencies, i.e. the ability to provide good therapy influenced more by practical knowledge oriented towards the physiotherapist: (c) professional demands. i.e. the ability to be professional according to rules and scientifically proven interventions, influenced more by theoretical knowledge oriented towards the physiotherapist; and (d) scientific areas, i.e. the ability to use different knowledge, as an expert. in the interaction with the patient, strongly influenced by theoretical knowledge and oriented towards the patient. Conclusions The results can contribute to physiotherapy students* understanding of the multi-dimensional nature of physiotherapy. The paradigm of physiotherapy must be studied further in order to understand and explain its complexity. (c) 2005 Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-115
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Physiotherapy (Closed 2012) (013042000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Physiotherapy


  • phenomenographic
  • practice
  • theory
  • physiotherapy
  • knowledge


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