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    There are so many moving parts. Epistemologies in physiotherapy: An exploration of disconnection.

    Dowling, Elizabeth (2022) There are so many moving parts. Epistemologies in physiotherapy: An exploration of disconnection. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This thesis explores epistemologies in the author’s own academic and clinical practice as a physiotherapist, examining knowledges that are privileged and emulated, and in active use by practitioners. The approach taken examines a personal disconnect between the epistemologies of disciplinary research used to generate evidence for practice and epistemologies used in practice. In addition, this thesis explores physiotherapy practitioner knowledge that does not appear in research outputs. Physiotherapy as a profession, its identity and its knowledge sources were examined. This was completed with a historical review of physiotherapy in Ireland and borrows from Foucault’s concepts of archaeology of knowledge and discipline, and with an examination of musculoskeletal original research published in two disciplinary journals. A qualitative approach was taken to explore epistemologies in practice. Twelve physiotherapists in private practice in Ireland participated in semi-structured interviews, which are analyzed and discussed using insight from Deleuzian concepts of the rhizome, common-sense, multiplicity and difference. The research creates a framing for how the author may understand their experienced disconnect between the epistemology of practice and the epistemology of evidence-based practice. The findings of this research suggest that the processes of professionalization and an identity aligned with medico-scientific epistemologies lead much musculoskeletal physiotherapy disciplinary research to focus on methods that contribute to the legitimization and emulation of evidence-based practice. This research also finds that despite not seeing it in research outputs, tacit craft knowledge is strongly utilized by practitioners and is acknowledged and valued by them in their work. The physiotherapist practitioner respects and sees value in evidence-based practice, but they do not embody the disconnection, instead navigating through their practice drawing from multiple epistemologies. This research provides an illumination of physiotherapy private practice in an Irish context. It examines knowledge sources in use by clinical practitioners and finds that craft aspects of practice are fully appreciated, though not easily articulated, and are felt to be beyond research in the format these physiotherapists are most familiar with.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Epistemologies; physiotherapy; exploration; disconnection;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 16568
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2022 15:30
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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