Improving the quality of rehabilitation & disability research


Chan, L., Heinemann, A.W., & Roberts, J. (2014). Elevating the quality of disability and rehabilitation research: mandatory use of the reporting guidelines. Journal of Physiotherapy, 60,120-121.


This editorial describes a movement, joined by 28 rehabilitation related journals at the time of publication, to adopt a universal set of publication guidelines. The goal is to improve not only the quality and transparency of research reports, but to eventually improve the overall quality of rehabilitation and disability related research. Links to the publication guidelines for various types of research are provided below.

I CHOSE THIS ARTICLE, like the revolution that occurred in surgical safety when simple checklists were applied, the quality of research proposed, conducted, and reported can improve significantly through the use of concrete written guidelines. To the extent that rehabilitation psychologists adopt and implement these guidelines sooner and more fully, I think we will enhance our capacity to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

(1) CONSORT for randomised controlled trials (;

(2) Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) for observational studies (;

(3) Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and MetaAnalyses (PRISMA) for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (;

(4) Standards for the Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy studies (STARD) for studies of diagnostic accuracy (; and

(5) Case Reports (CARE) for case reports (

I PICKED THIS ARTICLE BECAUSE it appeared in a journal that may be off the beaten path for many Rehabilitation Psychologists, yet contains information of immediate relevance for our work.

This month's Rehab Science Spotlight was chosen by Charles Bombardier, PhD, Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine and Head of the Division of Clinical and Neuropsychology at the University of Washington, and a member of Division 22’s Science Committee.