The value of an evidence database for occupational therapists: An international online survey

Sally Bennett*, Kryss McKenna, Tammy Hoffmann, Leigh Tooth, Annie McCluskey, Jenny Strong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Online evidence databases can provide access to high quality evidence at the point of care, making evidence-based practice more achievable. A discipline-specific online bibliographic database called OTseeker ( was designed for use by occupational therapists. The database is free, and contains citations and abstracts of systematic reviews, and critically appraised randomized controlled trials relevant to occupational therapy

Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate search practices of database users, their views on its functionality, and the reported impact, if any, on their practice from using OTseeker.

Design: An online survey, placed on the database website for 30 days.

Sample: Potential participants were users of OTseeker during a 30-day period. A total of 498 people who had used the database more than once from over 40 countries completed the survey

Results: Three hundred and nine (62%) participants believed that OTseeker had improved their ability to locate research about the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions, and 92 (19%) agreed that the information in the database had contributed to a change in practice. Those reporting no practice changes agreed that use of OTseeker had improved their knowledge generally (n = 189; 38%), confirmed their practice (n = 7 5; 15%), or revealed that there was insufficient research relevant to their search topic (n = 92; 19%). Features of the database which helped respondents locate research evidence included: having disciplinespecific content, providing critical appraisal ratings for randomized controlled trials, and presenting search results ranked for methodological quality.

Conclusion: This study confirms the value of a discipline-specific, online database for helping occupational therapists locate high quality research evidence. Information located on databases such as OTseeker can help change or confirm practice, and improve knowledge. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-513
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


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