Preparing occupational therapy students for research-active careers: A longitudinal, mixed-method study

Tanya Rihtman, Julie Booth, Mike Morgan, Rob Wilson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


INTRODUCTION: Occupational therapy (OT) education has seen calls for enhancing the development of research capacity to facilitate evidence-based practice and assist in securing the profession's future. This study engaged a cohort of undergraduate OT students, investigating their research experiences and perceptions and factors related to preparation for research-active careers.

OBJECTIVES: To understand OT students' perceptions around research and the
factors related to preparation for research active OT careers

METHODS: After gaining ethical approval, this longitudinal, mixed-method study
repeatedly surveyed final year OT students from one university during the process of implementing their final year research projects. The Research Spider, Qmethodology and non-standardised surveys investigated research engagement, knowledge and competencies, and emotional variables. Data was analysed using quantitative and qualitative methods.

RESULTS: Data collected at three time points yielded 33, 21 and 10 survey responses and 18, 12 and 6 Q-sort responses respectively. Results profile research attitudes and perceptions at the three time points, with findings demonstrating shifting profiles related to experiences of professional research engagement across time.

CONCLUSION: The need to ensure that OTs are research-competent and confident is increasingly important across all areas of practice. Findings have the potential to enhance evidence-based practice as a key component of OT's professional standards with clear implications for OT educational provision, potentially facilitating enhanced understanding of educational factors that contribute to longer-term research attitudes. This has the potential for informing OT study programmes, raising graduate confidence, and enhancing professional identity and profile through improved skills for ensuring efficacy of interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 Aug 2017
EventWorld Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) Congress 2018 - Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 21 May 201825 May 2018


ConferenceWorld Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) Congress 2018
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town
Internet address


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