Mapping physical therapy research: The geographical affiliations and methodological quality of 2,959 randomized controlled trials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Evidence suggests that research benefits from diversity, yet science is concentrated to a small group of countries. Diversity in physical therapy research has so far not been studied thoroughly, and this is the first study to map physical therapy research geographically. The objective was to study the frequency and methodological quality of physical therapy-related randomized controlled trials (RCTs) across the world. PEDro was searched for RCTs in physical therapy published between January 1 2015 and December 5 2016. For each trial, the first and last authors’ affiliations and the PEDro scale were extracted. Using the first and last authors’ affiliations, each article was geocoded using the Data Science Toolkit API. The search located 2,959 RCTs, which were affiliated primarily with a small cluster of countries. The median PEDro score for all trials was 5 (IQR 4:7). The geographical spread of the RCTs was focused around Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Oceania, the United States, and parts of South America. The lack of diversity might be problematic for the research field, even though the average clinical trial in physical therapy is of fair quality.


External organisations
  • Vårdcentralen Södra Sandby
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physiotherapy


  • Cultural diversity, geographic mapping, physical therapy modalities, randomized controlled trials as topic, therapy specialty
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-729
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 2
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes