Our Motivation

The chiropractic profession is a significant provider of health care worldwide, and in general chiropractic organizations and individual practitioners have been enthusiastic advocates of evidence-based care. However, as is true throughout health care, resources for chiropractic research are limited. Hence, there is an imperative to channel resources towards research which is of greater benefit to stakeholders, particularly patients. To this end, a number of funding agencies and professional organizations have undertaken to establish research agendas which support stakeholder interests (1, 2).

To inform research agendas in general, a number of meta-researchers in other sub-disciplines of health care (for example, nursing and medicine) have used diverse approaches, including social network analysis (SNA), to characterize research networks; particularly to identify key researchers, collaborations and drivers of research (3-5).  However, with the exception of a recent study of the Canadian chiropractic research enterprise (6), there has been no quantitative assessment of the allocation of resources and the research output attributable to the chiropractic profession. Furthermore, little attention has been paid to the dynamics of the chiropractic research enterprise: how researchers interact with each other and society. Without understanding the behaviours of the research community, it is difficult to identify those behaviours which are successful in terms of serving the needs of stakeholders. To the extent that no such analysis has been conducted to date, it is challenging to develop effective research agendas which address the needs of the profession and the community which it serves. To be more direct, while we may espouse support for evidence-based health care, we routinely develop and work off of opinion-based research agendas. Hence, the purpose of this collaboration is to quantify and characterize the research output attributable to the chiropractic profession worldwide, beginning with the decade 2011-2020, and to examine, using social network analysis, interactions between researchers, research institutions, funders and publishers, with a view to identifying successful patterns of behaviour.

The Scope of our Work

This study will survey the peer-reviewed research literature published from 2011 to 2020 inclusive and attributable to i) chiropractor-researchers regardless of institutional affiliation and ii) non-chiropractic researchers affiliated with chiropractic institutions. To be clear, by ‘attributable to i) chiropractor-researchers…,’ we mean that among the authors of each paper there is at least one person who holds a first professional qualification in chiropractic, such as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) award.

We recognize that there will likely be uncommon occasions when such research has no particular relevance to the scope of practice of chiropractic, as for example when a statistician with a chiropractic qualification participates in a surgical or pharmacological study. Nonetheless, such studies speak to the behaviours of the chiropractic-researchers themselves, and to the behaviours of their institutions.

Our Team

The collaborating team consists of a core executive for the study, key-informants, regional/institutional research leads and local research assistants. Our current executive includes Dr. Brian Budgell (Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College), Mr. Mark Fillery (Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College) and Dr. Shari Wynd (Texas Chiropractic College). Our regional and institutional research leads hail from Anglo-European Chiropractic College (UK), Durban University of Technology (South Africa), Institut Franco-Europeen de Chiropraxie (France), Life University (USA), London South Bank University (UK), Madrid Chiropractic College (Spain), McMaster University (Canada), McTimoney College of Chiropractic (UK), Miami University (USA), Murdoch University (Australia), New Zealand College of Chiropractic (New Zealand), Northwestern Health Sciences University (USA), Parker University (USA), Macquarie University (Australia), Teesside University (UK), United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs (USA), University of Alberta (Canada), University of Bridgeport (USA), University of Johannesburg (South Africa), University of South Wales (UK), University of Southern Denmark (Denmark), University of Western States (USA) and Universidad Central de Chile (Chile).

Our Approach

We are taking a distributed approach to this very ambitious project, with each partner institution creating their own data-base of research, formatted according to our project standards. Partner data-bases are aggregated and checked for quality prior to data analysis. Relationships between researchers, institutions, journals and funding bodies will be analyzed using various social network analysis software tools to identify naturally occurring communities and to obtain measures of centrality which reflect the roles of researchers, institutions, journals and funding bodies in the total network. The various measures of centrality provide some indication of which members of the network act as what might be thought of as ‘influencers’ or ‘brokers’ within the network. Community analyses will reveal which researchers or institutions form lasting and productive collaborations. Additionally, by constructing time-series, we will identify which researchers or research teams contribute to the network by spawning new researchers. Lexical and thematic analyses of titles, keywords and abstracts will be analyzed to identify areas of interest as well as opportunities for research discovery. Aggregated results will be submitted to peer-reviewed publications and every attempt will be made to make our data-bases and results freely available.

Knowledge Translation

Based on our analysis, we will produce a series of recommendations to guide future chiropractic research.


  1. Vernon H. The development of a research agenda for the Canadian chiropractic profession: report of the Consortium of Canadian Chirorpactic Ressearch Centres, November 2000. J Can Chiropr Assoc 2002;46(2):86-92.
  2. Stuber K, Kawchuk G, Bussieres A. Research resource environment in Canada. Gathering knowledge in advance to inform chiropractic resarch priorities. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2017;61(3):178-83.
  3. e Fonseca BdPR, Sampaio RB, de Araujo Fonseca MV, Zicker F. Co-authorship network analysis in health research: method and potential use. Health Research Policy and Systems. 2016;14.
  4. Azondekon R, Harper ZJ, Agossa FR, Welzig CM, McRoy S. Scientific authorship and collaboration network analysis on malaria research in Benin: papers indexed in the web of science (1996-2016). Global Health Research and Policy. 2018;3.
  5. Morel CM, Serruya SJ, Penna GO, Guimaraes R. Co-authorship network analysis: a powerful tool for strategic planning of research, development and capacity building programs on neglected diseases. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2009;3(8).
  6. Budgell B, Bakaa N, Stunden K. The Canadian Chiropractic Research Enterprise 2012-2017. Toronto: Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College; 2019.