Systematic review of communication partner training in aphasia: Methodological quality
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science / Social Justice Research Centre
Twenty-three studies identified from a previous systematic review examining the effects of communication partner training on persons with aphasia and their communication partners were evaluated for methodological quality. Two reviewers rated the studies on defined methodological quality criteria relevant to each study design. There were 11 group studies, seven single-subject participant design studies, and five qualitative studies. Quality scores were derived for each study. The mean inter-rater reliability of scores for each study design ranged from 85-93%, with Cohen's Kappa indicating substantial agreement between raters. Methodological quality of research on communication partner training in aphasia was highly varied. Overall, group studies employed the least rigorous methodology as compared to single subject and qualitative research. Only two of 11 group studies complied with more than half of the quality criteria. No group studies reported therapist blinding and only one group study reported participant blinding. Across all types of studies, the criterion of treatment fidelity was most commonly omitted. Failure to explicitly report certain methodological quality criteria may account for low ratings. Using methodological rating scales specific to the type of study design may help improve the methodological quality of aphasia treatment studies, including those on communication partner training.