Patterns of research utilization among Certified Hand Therapists

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Study design

Mixed methods, cross-sectional.


Nearly 30% of Certified Hand Therapists rarely or never use research findings when treating carpal tunnel syndrome.

Purpose of the study

To identify groups of CHTs with common research utilization patterns.


National randomized mail survey of 600 CHTs (n = 308, RR = 55%). Latent class and thematic analysis of eight questions assessing research use and beliefs.


Four groups of CHT research users were identified: Analytic (n = 135, 45%); Skeptic (n = 65, 22%); Pragmatic (n = 53, 18%); and Traditional (n = 46, 15%). Highest research use was reported among Analytics and Pragmatics although Skeptics willingly relied on research evidence when it contradicted other sources of knowledge. Age, not experience or population density, was a significant covariate of group membership.


Empowering CHTs to use research findings by increased understanding of their group membership, and understanding others' groups, may increase progress toward evidence-based practice.

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