Jaclyn K. Schwartz, Roger O. Smith; Benefits of Student Engagement in Intervention Research. Am J Occup Ther 2015;69(Supplement_2):6912185050. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.018200
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© 2020 American Occupational Therapy Association
OBJECTIVE. Accreditation standards require entry-level occupational therapy students to understand, critique, and design research. However, the extent to which students should be embedded in research projects is unclear. The purpose of this study was to understand the benefits of student immersion in research for student learning and research quality.
METHOD. Using a multiple case study design, the principal investigator trained six occupational therapy students to implement a manualized intervention with research participants. Learning quizzes, video analysis of research activities, a practical exam, student documentation, an exit interview, and an exit survey identified student learning and research outcomes.
RESULTS. Students successfully implemented the study protocols with good reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient = .89) and fidelity (99%). Students also reported improvements in comfort with client interactions, confidence in practice skills, self-efficacy in research, and clinical reasoning.
CONCLUSION. Student participation in hands-on research supports researchers in attaining their research goals and provides students with valuable learning experiences.
Dependent—Students learned the study manual. Learning was evaluated with online quizzes providing immediate feedback.
Interested—Students met as a group. The PI guided discussion of example cases and discussed student goals for the learning experience.
Involved—Students implemented all study protocols with the PI in a practical exam.
Self-directed—Students independently implemented the study protocols with research participants.
Student participation in hands-on research has benefits such as increases in confidence, clinical reasoning, and self-efficacy; therefore, educators should incorporate hands-on components into their occupational therapy research curriculum.
More research is needed for occupational therapy to become the evidence-based, science-driven profession envisioned by the leadership (AOTA, 2007a). Provided with the right supports, occupational therapy students can reliably and successfully implement skilled research approaches. Researchers should better leverage student partnerships to meet societal and professional research needs.
Manualizing research interventions has many well-known benefits (Blanche et al., 2011). In this study, a manualized intervention enabled occupational therapy students to successfully implement complicated approaches, further supporting the use of and need for manualized interventions in occupational therapy.
The RAs transitioned from being dependent learners to independently administering a skilled intervention. Therefore, this research supports the use of the SSDL model in occupational therapy education, particularly to involve students in research.
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