rehabilitation; primary health care; occupational health; mental health; child development; occupational therapy; education; vocational rehabilitation; community-based therapy
Wrestling with evidence-based practice: An evidence mapping review of publication trends in the South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

Supplementary Files




Introduction: Occupational therapy research to support clinical decision-making must be responsive to local needs, illustrate our unique value to clients, communities and providers, and demonstrate efficacy for quality assurance and reimbursement. This article examines the publication trends in the South African Journal of Occupational Therapy (SAJOT) with the intention of contributing to dialogues about evidence-based practice.

Methods: A mapping review was undertaken of articles published in the SAJOT from January 2009 to December 2021. All articles excepting commentaries, book reviews and editorials were included. Articles were categorised by year of publication, title, author, research approach, study design, practice area, research affiliation, and nature of authorship. Quantitative research articles were classified according to the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) levels of evidence.

Results: Of the 265 articles published in the 13-year period, slightly more took a quantitative approach (52.1%) compared with qualitative approaches (42.4%). Most quantitative studies were Level III-2 studies (31.3%). Children and Youth was the practice area with the highest number of articles (34.8%) and the strongest evidence base. 

Conclusion: As occupational therapy continues to wrestle with EBP, further dialogue about a national occupational therapy research strategy to identify and harness enablers and explore and mitigate the barriers identified in this review, is recommended.


Implications for practice

  • This research serves as a bridge between theoretical findings and practical applications, by providing data from research that can be put into action through the development of research agendas by institutions. 
  • By understanding what research has been done, professionals can make informed decisions that are backed by evidence-based findings. This not only enhances the quality of their work but also improves overall efficiency and effectiveness.
  • The study helps practitioners identify areas where improvements or interventions are needed. They shed light on potential challenges and offer possible solutions that can be implemented to address specific issues or concerns within their respective fields.
  • This data provides a platform for collaboration between researchers and practitioners across institutions in terms of common research agendas.
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2023 South African Journal of Occupational Therapy


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