The Challenge of Evidence in Disability and Rehabilitation Research and Practice: A Position Paper

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Authors: Mark V. Johnston, Gregg C. Vanderheiden, Marianne D. Farkas, E. Sally Rogers, Jean Ann Summers, John Westbrook

Price: Available free online
• Published: 2009    • 14 pages   

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This paper states the position of the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR) Task Force on Standards of Evidence and Methods (TFSE) regarding the need for (a) the thoughtful determination of research evidence on the basis of both the rigor of the research and the relevance of the research to the lives of people with disabilities; and (b) systems that facilitate our ability, on a timely basis, to describe what the best available evidence is in response to specific topical questions in disability and rehabilitation.

The primary focus of this paper is on evidence for interventions in the field of disability and rehabilitation (D&R). Evidence issues related to D&R interventions concern all people with disabilities and involve both research and development, as both are extremely important. The specific objectives of this paper are the following:

  • To clarify what is meant by the term evidence and to describe the nature of the contemporary systems used to identify and evaluate evidence in intervention research
  • To identify the challenges in meeting contemporary standards of evidence in the field of D&R interventions
  • To propose next steps for examining related issues and for taking action to promote the availability of evidence-based services and information in the field of D&R interventions