Bibliometric analysis of articles published from 1980 to 2009 in physical therapy, journal of the American physical therapy association

Rogelio A. Coronado, Daniel L. Riddle, Wendy A. Wurtzel, Steven Z. George

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background. Recent evidence demonstrates growth in both the quality and quantity of evidence in physical therapy. Much of this work has focused on randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews. Objective. The purpose of this study was to conduct a comprehensive bibliometric assessment of Physical Therapy (PTJ) over the past 30 years to examine trends for all types of studies. Design. This was a bibliometric analysis. Methods. All manuscripts published in PTJ from 1980 to 2009 were reviewed. Research reports, topical reviews (including perspectives and nonsystematic reviews), and case reports were included. Articles were coded based on type, participant characteristics, physical therapy focus, research design, purpose of article, clinical condition, and intervention. Coding was performed by 2 independent reviewers, and author, institution, and citation information was obtained using bibliometric software. Results. Of the 4,385 publications identified, 2,519 were included in this analysis. Of these, 67.1% were research reports, 23.0% were topical reviews, and 9.9% were case reports. Percentage increases over the past 30 years were observed for research reports, inclusion of "symptomatic" participants (defined as humans with a current symptomatic condition), systematic reviews, qualitative studies, prospective studies, and articles focused on prognosis, diagnosis, or metric topics. Percentage decreases were observed for topical reviews, inclusion of only "asymptomatic" participants (defined as humans without a current symptomatic condition), education articles, nonsystematic reviews, and articles focused on anatomy/physiology. Limitations. Quality assessment of articles was not performed. Conclusions. These trends provide an indirect indication of the evolution of the physical therapy profession through the publication record in PTJ. Collectively, the data indicated an increased emphasis on publishing articles consistent with evidencebased practice and clinically based research. Bibliometric analyses indicated the most frequent citations were metric studies and references in PTJ were from journals from a variety of disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-655
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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