Research Article  |   February 2015
Longitudinal Study of Occupational Therapy Students’ Beliefs About Knowledge and Knowing
Author Affiliations
  • Anita Witt Mitchell, PhD, OTR, is Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis; amitchell@uthsc.edu
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Education
Research Article   |   February 2015
Longitudinal Study of Occupational Therapy Students’ Beliefs About Knowledge and Knowing
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 2015, Vol. 69, 6902230010p1-6902230010p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.015008
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 2015, Vol. 69, 6902230010p1-6902230010p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.015008
Abstract

Research has demonstrated the importance of beliefs about knowledge and knowing, or epistemic and ontological cognition (EOC), to learning and achievement; however, little research has examined occupational therapy students’ EOC or determined whether occupational therapy programs promote its development. This study examined changes in EOC over 18 mo of didactic coursework in an occupational therapy program. Thirty-one students completed the Epistemic Beliefs Inventory at the beginning, middle, and end of 18 mo of didactic coursework. Results indicated no difference in ontological cognition. However, change occurred in epistemic cognition, with students demonstrating statistically significantly weaker beliefs in justification of knowledge by an omniscient authority by the end of the didactic portion of the program. Although causal inferences cannot be made from this small study of one cohort of occupational therapy students, it is possible that intensive study in the discipline of occupational therapy contributed to change in these students’ epistemic cognition.