Why was the TELER methodology created

The origin of TELER is a question asked in 1980 when Mr A le Roux was teaching at Sheffield Polytechnic on a research methods course. Two of the students were paediatric physiotherapists from the Children’s Unit, Kings Mill Hospital, Sutton-in-Ashfield. They had read a paper entitled Physiotherapy for the spastic child: an evaluation (Develop Med Child Neurol, 1973, 15, 146-63), which reported that “physiotherapy was not found to be of value in the treatment of spastic cerebral palsy”, a finding that contradicted their treatment experiences over 10 years. Bunny asked if he could read the paper and tell them why the finding was wrong.

What he realised on reading the paper, was that the researchers did not understand statistical significance or measurement. They had made two classic mistakes: they had interpreted “not statistically significant” as “treatment was not effective”, and had not defined what they had intended to measure.

The conclusion by the researchers that physiotherapy has no value in the treatment of spastic cerebral palsy is invalid because “physiotherapy” was not defined before the trial began, the attributes selected for measurement were not identified by the definition of “physiotherapy” and “effective” was not defined before the trial began.

Over the course of 10 years, working with 3 Health Authorities and dozens of therapists and patients, TELER and TELER Indicators were created and put into practice. The TELER indicator satisfies the requirements of the Theory of Measuring Scales, Stevens, S S (1946), On the theory of measuring scales, Science, 103, pages 667-80, and Senders, Virginia L (1958), Measurement and Statistics OUP, New York, pages 50-70.

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