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Since its first printing in 1993, this text has served several different audiences. Students may be assigned readings, using it as a class text. Clinicians may use it as a reference to explain material found in the literature. Researchers may use it to help generate questions, design studies, or develop analysis strategies. Some want only conceptual material while others want more in-depth coverage. I have tried to serve all these goals efficiently. Some material has been placed online to supplement content in the text as a way of providing in-depth material.


The extensive use of examples from literature has long been considered a strength of this text. Examples continue to be used throughout the book to illustrate how studies have incorporated specific designs or used various analysis techniques. The use of these examples does not necessarily advocate for the methodologic quality of the study.

  • Case in Point features are used to clarify content through a description of a relevant study. The case is carried through discussion of a particular topic to illustrate applications. Some cases are from actual literature and others are hypothetical.

  • Relevant examples are provided for certain designs using short descriptions that are highlighted in blue.

  • Focus on Evidence features are included in each chapter to provide an example of how the material is relevant to evidence-based practice.

  • Numbered boxes within chapters provide relevant information that will enhance understanding of content and will provide examples to illustrate material.

Clarifying Information

Clarifying information will also be presented in several small boxes throughout the text:

image Note boxes provide complementary content to enhance discussion of particular topics.

image Key Point boxes provide important information to emphasize concepts.

image Historical Notes offer interesting background that puts content into an historical context.

image Fun Facts illustrate concepts through a lighthearted look at relevant information.

image Statistics boxes are included with discussions of various designs to suggest relevant statistics that will be described fully in later chapters.

Statistical Material

Many statistical procedures are described in the text, some that will include calculations within tables or boxes. However, most procedures are presented conceptually, with the primary purpose of being able to apply principles to the literature. Formulas are included for some statistical measures where they are instructive. Some more detailed calculations are included in supplements.

  • Many different statistical packages are available for data analysis, some proprietary and others free online. Their interfaces and formats are varied, and their output may look different, but most will generate comparable results. This text uses SPSS version 25, the most recent version at the time the book was published.

  • In chapters 22-34, tables are included that illustrate SPSS statistical output. Tables and text will guide readers through interpretation of the results, including footnotes to identify relevant information. Some material is omitted from the output if it does not provide relevant information, but full output is included in online files. All data used for examples in tables are hypothetical unless otherwise specified.

  • Appendix A includes tables of critical values that can be applied to statistical calculations. Additional tables are also available in relevant chapter supplements as well as in Appendix A Online.

  • image The Data Download icon will indicate that the original data and full output for an example are available online in SPSS and CSV files. Full output will also be available as SPSS files or as PDF files for those who do not have access to SPSS. Data and output files will be named according to the number of the table that contains the relevant material. Data Files will be available online at

  • Hypothetical data are not intended to reflect any true physiological or theoretical relationships. They have been manipulated to illustrate certain statistical concepts—so please don’t try to subject the results to a clinical rationale!

  • Examples of how results can be presented in a research report are provided for each statistical procedure.

  • This text is not a manual for using SPSS. Appendix C will introduce the basics of data management with SPSS, but please consult experts if you are unfamiliar with running statistical programs. Several texts are devoted to detailed instructions for applying SPSS.1,2


Each chapter has supplemental material available online.

  • Chapter Overviews include objectives, key terms, and a chapter summary.

  • image Supplemental Materials are included for many chapters with references highlighted in the text. Chapter material can be understood without referring to supplements, but the information in them may be important for teaching or for understanding the application of certain procedures. Where appropriate, supplements also provide links to relevant references or other resources related to the chapter’s content.

  • Review Questions are included for each chapter as a self-assessment to reinforce content for readers. Answers to these questions are also provided.

For Instructors

The order of chapters is based on the research process model introduced in Chapter 1. However, instructors may approach this order differently. The chapters will work in any order that fits your needs. Material is cross-referenced throughout the book.

  • It is not necessary to use all the chapters or all of the material in a given chapter, depending on the depth of interest in a particular topic. This book has always served as a teaching resource as well as a comprehensive reference for clinicians and researchers who run across unfamiliar content as they read through the literature. It will continue to be a useful reference for students following graduation.

  • Study Suggestions are given for each chapter, providing activities and exercises that can be incorporated into teaching, assignments, or exams. Many include discussion topics that can be used for individual or small group work. Where relevant, answers are provided, or ideas are given for focusing discussions.

  • A Test Item Bank includes multiple choice items for each chapter.

  • PowerPoint slides outline chapter content, and can be incorporated into teaching or other presentations.

  • An Image Bank offers access to all images within the text.

For Students

This book is intended to cover the concepts that will allow you to become a critical consumer of literature and to apply that knowledge within the context of evidence-based practice. It will also serve as a guide for planning and implementing research projects. Use the online resources to complement your readings.

It is unlikely that you will use the entire textbook within your courses but consider its usefulness as you move into your future role as an evidence-based practitioner. You may also find you are interested in doing some research once you have identified clinical questions. Don’t be overwhelmed with the comprehensive content—the book will be a resource for you going forward, so keep it handy on the bookshelf!


This text has a distinct and purposeful focus on interprofessional practice. However, many professions have particular jargon that may differ from terms used here. I have tried to define terms and abbreviations so that these words can be applied across disciplines.

  • When statistical procedures and designs can be described using different terms, I have included these alternatives. Unfortunately, there are many such instances.

  • The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) is introduced in Chapter 1, defining the terms impairment, activity, and participation. These are used to reflect different types of outcome measures throughout the text.

  • The pronouns “he” or “she” are used casually throughout the book to avoid using passive voice. There is no underlying intent with the choice of pronoun unless it is applied to a particular study.

  • I have chosen to use the terms “subject,” “participant,” “patient,” “person,” “individual,” or “case” interchangeably for two reasons. First, I recognize that those we study may represent different roles in different types of research studies, and second, it is just an effort to vary language. Although the term “participant” has gained increasing favor, there is no consensus on which terms are preferable, and these terms continue to be used in federal regulations and research reports.


1. +
Field A. Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics. 5th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 2018.
2. +
Green SB, Salkind NJ. Using SPSS for Windows and Macintosh: Analyzing and Understanding Data. 8th ed. New York: Pearson; 2017.

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