True or false: "Confidence interval" is what you experience in those moments just after you walk on to the karaoke stage and just before you begin singing. During that interval, you're confident. After that, maybe not so much.
Answer: false. "Confidence interval" has nothing to do with karaoke. (You probably wish you could say the same thing for a few of your friends, right?)
Being a knowledgeable PT means that you're plugged into the research goings-on in your profession, but it can be hard to plug in when the terminology isn't understandable. Even when the research findings themselves seem clear, it can sometimes be difficult to follow just how researchers arrived at those conclusions if you don't know some of the relevant terminology.
So in the interest of increasing your power to become at least a part-time research nerd (this is a good thing; see the article from Chapter 1 of this series), here's a handy glossary of a few of the most important terms and resources you're likely to encounter in your search for evidence-based practice information. Some even come with relevant links worth checking out.
A range of values expressed in combination with a confidence level. For example, we are 95% sure that 70%–80% of PTs love statistics.
A clinical practice guideline makes practice recommendations based on a review of the current literature.
An APTA expert appraisal of a CPG listed in PTNow.org's database that includes a quality rating, highlights, and practice tips.
The process of making high-quality research accessible and applicable to clinical practice.
Levels of Evidence
A hierarchy of the quality of research articles. For example, systematic reviews of the literature are considered the highest quality, while case studies and "expert opinion" are considered the lowest.
Related to sensitivity and specificity, this ratio expresses the likelihood that an individual's test result would be expected in someone with a certain condition compared with someone without the condition.
A statistical technique used to combine findings from several studies, such as on the effectiveness of a particular intervention.
Minimal Detectable Change/Minimal Clinically Important Difference
MDC is the minimal amount of change in an outcome measure score necessary for the change to be considered a "real" change. MCID is the minimal amount of change in score necessary to be considered clinically important, and should always be change important to the patient. Change that's "real" doesn't always occur at a magnitude large enough to be considered "clinically important."
A useful method for searching research databases using keywords for Patient population, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome.
PTNow.org, a free member benefit, is APTA's portal to evidence-informed practice resources.
Offers members full-text access to research and articles from more than 4,500 clinical, academic, and trade publications.
A randomized controlled trial is a study that randomly allocates participants to a treatment group to compare the effects of an intervention with a nonintervention (control group).
Reliability is the consistency of repeated measurements for a given test or measure, and varies by patient population.
The former indicates how well a test identifies people who should have a positive test finding, while the latter measures how well it identifies those who should have a negative finding.
Based on 1 or more research questions, independent researchers evaluate and synthesize the current high-quality literature.
Validity indicates how well a test measures what it is intended to measure.
This article is a part of APTA's "Profession in Transformation" series. Check it out!