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Research Article
Issue Date: September/October 2016
Published Online: July 27, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Occupational Therapy Education Research: Results of a National Survey
Author Affiliations
  • Aliki Thomas, PhD, OT, is Assistant Professor, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation, and Centre for Medical Education, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; aliki.thomas@mcgill.ca
  • Ann Bossers, MEd, OT, is Associate Professor, School of Occupational Therapy, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Michael Lee, MBA, OT, is Senior Instructor, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Rosemary Lysaght, PhD, OT, is Associate Professor, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Education
Research Article   |   July 27, 2016
Occupational Therapy Education Research: Results of a National Survey
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2016, Vol. 70, 7005230010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.018259
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2016, Vol. 70, 7005230010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.018259
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. Despite a strong tradition of education scholarship in occupational therapy, no systematic evaluation of the amount and nature of research in this arena, or its associated challenges, has been conducted. This study examined the scope and range of education-focused research conducted in Canada and identified perceived supports and barriers for this area of inquiry.

METHOD. An online survey was sent to faculty of all 14 Canadian occupational therapy programs. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize areas of study focus, and qualitative thematic analysis captured respondents’ perceptions of personal and environmental factors influencing their engagement in education research.

RESULTS. Respondents (n = 47) reported engagement in education scholarship spanning more than 20 focus areas, often with limited resources.

CONCLUSION. Strategies are proposed to promote the viability of education research in occupational therapy and to improve resources and other supports for this type of research.

In the past 15 yr, there has been a resounding call for educators in the health professions to apply an evidence-informed approach to teaching and assessment practices to ensure accountability to learners and society in providing meaningful and effective education (Durning et al., 2012; Van Der Vleuten, Dolmans, & Scherpbier, 2000). The drive toward evidence-informed health professions education (HPE) is reflected in the growth of initiatives such as the Best Evidence Medical Education collaboration, which makes available the latest findings from education research to educators of health professionals through systematic reviews and summaries of research (Harden, Grant, Buckley, & Hart, 2000).
Despite the call for evidence-informed HPE and the growth of education research, concerns that research evidence is not routinely used in educational practices are increasingly being voiced within academic communities (Colliver, 1999; Levinson, 2010; Van Der Vleuten et al., 2000). As the subject gains rising attention among scholars, discussion is emerging on important matters such asConcerted efforts are required to conduct, disseminate, and support the uptake of education research evidence in the health professions.
Research in Occupational Therapy Education
Research in occupational therapy education has an extensive history in Canada and the United States. Between 2003 and 2013 the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy (CJOT) and the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT) published almost 50 articles on topics related to education scholarship in occupational therapy, such as fieldwork education (Haro et al., 2014; Holmes et al., 2010; Klinger & Bossers, 2009), simulation (Bethea, Castillo, & Harvison, 2014), development of evidence-based practice competencies (Cohn, Coster, & Kramer, 2014; Thomas, Saroyan, & Snider, 2012), and clinical reasoning (Lysaght & Bent, 2005; Mitchell & Xu, 2011). Research has also addressed novel areas of occupational therapy education such as student epistemologies (Mitchell, 2015), online learning methods (McAlister, 2014; Perlman, Weston, & Gisel, 2005), and student diversity and disability studies (Block, Skeels, Keys, & Rimmer, 2005). According to the tables of contents of AJOT, CJOT, the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, and the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, between 4% and 10% of all articles published between 2009 and early 2015 reported results of education research. This list of areas of education scholarship for occupational therapy researchers is not exhaustive but demonstrates the scope and breadth of research endeavors in this area.
Education research within the profession appears to be increasingly necessary, visible, and valued. In the “Occupational Therapy Education Research Agenda” published in an AJOT supplemental issue on education, the American Occupational Therapy Association (2014)  noted that

to move occupational therapy education forward, it is important that occupational therapy educators not draw only on education research outside the profession. Although that body of research can contribute to an understanding of how best to educate occupational therapy students, it does not meet all the needs for the profession’s education of its future members. . . . The Occupational Therapy Education Research Agenda identifies an array of areas in which research needs to be conducted to inform the preparation of future occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants for successful practice. (p. S84)

The 2014 AJOT supplemental issue contained articles on education research on topics such as curriculum mapping, reflection, simulation, instructional technology, and doctoral entry-level education. Twelve articles reported results of contemporary research in education, emphasizing the need to conduct high-quality research to advance occupational therapy education practices. As the guest editors Burke and Harvison (2014)  eloquently stated,

Research on occupational therapy education must prepare educators to articulate a clear understanding of the kinds of learning environments and teaching methods that best support skill development and ways of knowing in occupational therapy. Through the development of research evidence, we are able to provide answers to support the practice of occupational therapy education. (p. S1)

To our knowledge, only two studies published in North America have reported results of environmental scans of education research activity in occupational therapy. In the first, a survey by the American Occupational Therapy Foundation of 73 (86% of total N) accredited professional and postprofessional programs in the United States undertook to identify the full range of research activities conducted by faculty in occupational therapy professional and postprofessional education programs with the aim of identifying trends across 1 yr (Parham & Zemke, 1997). The survey collected data on topics related to the scholarly activities and productivity of faculty and students, and results were compared with those of previous studies to provide a longitudinal view of trends over the 12 yr that preceded the survey. Although the results were useful for identifying trends in U.S. research activities, they did not differentiate between the types of research (e.g., education, rehabilitation, basic sciences) being conducted. Moreover, the study has limited relevance to current practice because the survey was conducted almost 20 yr ago.
The second, more recent study sought to identify a baseline for faculty engagement and productivity in occupational therapy education research in the United States (Gupta & Bilics, 2014). The authors surveyed 520 (23% of total N) faculty members nationally on their use of evidence to inform teaching and the frequency and nature of involvement in education scholarship. Although almost all respondents (90%) engaged in teaching and about one-third (34%) identified education as an area of content expertise, only 16% reported frequent involvement with education scholarship. The authors emphasized the need to build capacity for education research and to promote diversification of education research topics. U.S. researchers thus have taken steps to understand the profile of education research, but no research has explored how relevant such studies are to developments in the field or how research findings are being disseminated and adopted.
The purpose of this study was to identify the breadth and scope of education-related research activities conducted by occupational therapy faculty in Canada and factors that encourage or detract from advancement of such work. The questions guiding the study were as follows:
  • What is the current nature of occupational therapy research in education in Canada?

  • What are the facilitators and barriers to occupational therapy research in education in Canada?

  • How are occupational therapy researchers disseminating the results of their education research?

Method
In this descriptive study, we used an online survey (see Supplemental Appendix A, available online at http://otjournal.net; navigate to this article, and click on “Supplemental”) to collect information on practices of Canadian occupational therapy faculty participating in education research. Ethics approval was obtained from the institutional review board of McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
Participants
Fourteen academic programs form the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs (ACOTUP) and employ approximately 195 faculty members. Faculty members from all academic ranks who were engaging in education research at one of the occupational therapy programs in Canada were eligible and invited to participate in the study.
Recruitment and Study Procedures
Chairs of each ACOTUP program were sent an email explaining the purpose of the study and asking them to forward the link to the online survey to each of their faculty members. Anyone who was involved in education research could participate in the study even if education research was not his or her primary research focus.
Instrument
The research team developed the survey questionnaire on the basis of their collective experience in education research and expertise in survey design. The questionnaire was piloted with three education research experts and revised in accordance with their feedback. The final instrument consisted of 15 closed- and open-ended items in three sections: (1) participant background (e.g., education level, academic rank); (2) nature of participants’ involvement in education research; and (3) factors that enable or constrain education scholarship, including questions addressing funding and research collaborations as a means to support education research.
Data Analysis
Descriptive statistics were used to profile the scope and range of participants’ education research. A qualitative thematic analysis of all open-ended questions was conducted to capture respondents’ perceptions about the barriers and facilitators for education research and to highlight their priorities in education research (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Two research team members coded the responses independently and generated preliminary categories that reflected similar units of meaning. The team members discussed disagreements on the preliminary categories and generated a final list of categories organized into four emerging predominant themes. Consensus on final categories was reached through team discussion.
Results
Forty-seven faculty members at 14 Canadian occupational therapy programs completed the survey, representing approximately 24% of all full-time-equivalent faculty across Canada. The academic rank of respondents ranged from clinical professor to full professor. Overall, 68% (n = 32) indicated that they were in a tenured or tenure track position. Seventy-nine percent (n = 37) reported that research was an expectation of their position. The portion of time assigned to research varied greatly, ranging from 0% to 80% of the workload (mean = 29.7%, standard deviation = 19.6). For almost half of respondents (n = 23, 49%), research constituted 31%–40% of their workload. However, a third (34%) of the sample reported that research formed less than 10% of their workload.
Nature of Education Research in Occupational Therapy
The focus of education research among respondents in terms of past, present (as of 2013), and future projects (i.e., planned projects or projects in development) is depicted in Figure 1. Data are based on responses to categories provided on the survey instrument. Respondents were asked to provide the titles of their projects.
Figure 1.
Participants’ involvement in distinct areas of education research inquiry (N = 47).
Note. Classrm = classroom; FW = fieldwork; IP = interprofessional.
Figure 1.
Participants’ involvement in distinct areas of education research inquiry (N = 47).
Note. Classrm = classroom; FW = fieldwork; IP = interprofessional.
×
Respondents could list up to five additional projects beyond those included in our named survey categories. Project titles that related to the 10 survey categories were added to the counts in those categories, and the rest were grouped into an “other” category. Topics in the “other” category reported by two or more respondents included program evaluations, student health, distinct topics in occupational therapy curricula (e.g., ethics education, professionalism, enabling healthy lifestyles), clinical reasoning, knowledge translation, student writing skills, use of simulation in occupational therapy education, international education (fieldwork, academic), online or distance education approaches, and theory development related to education (e.g., complexity theory, transformative learning, professional identity).
Sources of Research Funding
When asked about sources of research funding, 32 participants (68%) provided responses showing that funding was sourced from four primary areas. The most frequent source was grants related to interprofessional education (n = 13), followed by health force development (n = 9), mentorship (n = 2), and education (n = 1; note that participants could respond to more than one category). The responses grouped in the “other” category (n = 7) included grants related to ethics education, knowledge translation, health professional education, international education, and preceptorship training.
Dissemination and Translation of Education Research
Respondents were asked to provide references for peer reviewed articles they had published relative to their research in education. We reviewed the article titles and determined that 44 had a focus on education research related to occupational therapy. We sorted these articles by date and included those published in the past 10 yr (2003–2013) in the subsequent analysis. These data provide evidence of the frequency, prevalence, trends, and publication venues for articles related to research in occupational therapy education. Table 1 shows that of the 44 publications, 28 (64%) were published in occupational therapy journals and 5 (11%) in other health or rehabilitation practice journals. Only 11 articles (25%) were published in journals specifically related to education and education research.
Table 1.
Journal Venues for Dissemination of Participants’ Education Research (N = 44 Articles)
Journal Venues for Dissemination of Participants’ Education Research (N = 44 Articles)×
Type of JournalJournal TitleNo. of Articles Published
Occupational therapyCanadian Journal of Occupational Therapy14
British Journal of Occupational Therapy4
Occupational Therapy International4
Australian Occupational Therapy Journal2
American Journal of Occupational Therapy2
Occupational Therapy Now2
Non–occupational therapy healthJournal of Allied Health2
Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice1
Disability and Rehabilitation1
Health Information and Libraries Journal1
EducationLearning in Health and Social Care2
Pédagogie Médicale2
British Journal of Educational Technology1
Creative Education1
Teaching and Learning in Medicine1
Educational Technology Research and Development1
Medical Teacher1
Academic Exchange Quarterly1
Revue des Sciences de l’Éducation1
Table 1.
Journal Venues for Dissemination of Participants’ Education Research (N = 44 Articles)
Journal Venues for Dissemination of Participants’ Education Research (N = 44 Articles)×
Type of JournalJournal TitleNo. of Articles Published
Occupational therapyCanadian Journal of Occupational Therapy14
British Journal of Occupational Therapy4
Occupational Therapy International4
Australian Occupational Therapy Journal2
American Journal of Occupational Therapy2
Occupational Therapy Now2
Non–occupational therapy healthJournal of Allied Health2
Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice1
Disability and Rehabilitation1
Health Information and Libraries Journal1
EducationLearning in Health and Social Care2
Pédagogie Médicale2
British Journal of Educational Technology1
Creative Education1
Teaching and Learning in Medicine1
Educational Technology Research and Development1
Medical Teacher1
Academic Exchange Quarterly1
Revue des Sciences de l’Éducation1
×
For the same time period, respondents reported a total of 398 conference presentations, seminars, and invited talks. In addition, they published more than 170 peer-reviewed conference abstracts that pertained directly to education research; 18 book chapters, 4 of which were specifically on occupational therapy education; and 5 non-peer-reviewed articles in bulletins and newsletters.
Facilitators and Barriers to Education Research in Occupational Therapy
The qualitative thematic analysis revealed categories relative to the open-ended questions. Table 2 lists the five main categories and most frequently cited responses within each category. Respondents reported that in addition to their interest and commitment to educational excellence, several environmental factors permitted or limited the extent of their involvement in education research. Key among those factors were institutional support for and value placed on this type of research, evidenced through internal funding, and recognition of education research as part of the promotion and tenure portfolio.
Table 2.
Facilitators, Barriers, and Priority Areas for Occupational Therapy Education Research Identified by Participants
Facilitators, Barriers, and Priority Areas for Occupational Therapy Education Research Identified by Participants×
CategoryMost Frequently Cited Responses
Factors facilitating involvement in education researchAcademic background, knowledge, and expertise in education
Questions arising from the academic fieldwork setting
Partnerships and collaboration
Personal interest
Funding and time to conduct education research
Mentorship
Value and support for education research at the departmental and institutional levels
Work environment that promotes education research
Factors impeding involvement in education researchLimited external funding for education research
Time constraints
Lack of value placed on education research
Expectations of academic position and rank
Strategies to overcome barriers to education researchCollaborations and strategic partnerships and mentorship
Perseverance and creativity
Positioning of oneself to influence change
Advocacy locally and with funding agencies
Strategies at the national level to advance education research in occupational therapyAdvocacy and lobbying for education research
Support for and active role in promoting and funding education research in occupational therapy by national organizations (Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation, Committee on University Fieldwork Education)
Creation of networks and promotion of collaborations
Identification of current trends in education research and future research avenues and directions
Priority areas for occupational therapy education researchAdmissions and selection tools (best practice and predictors)
Student accommodation
Value and effectiveness of teaching strategies and instructional methods
Fieldwork
Classroom–fieldwork integration
Evaluation of new programs
Teaching and assessment of specific competencies
Determinants of competence and alignment with curricular content
Understanding of the role of occupational therapy in interprofessional education and promotion of interprofessional competencies
Evidence-based practice
Technology in education
Professional identity
Table 2.
Facilitators, Barriers, and Priority Areas for Occupational Therapy Education Research Identified by Participants
Facilitators, Barriers, and Priority Areas for Occupational Therapy Education Research Identified by Participants×
CategoryMost Frequently Cited Responses
Factors facilitating involvement in education researchAcademic background, knowledge, and expertise in education
Questions arising from the academic fieldwork setting
Partnerships and collaboration
Personal interest
Funding and time to conduct education research
Mentorship
Value and support for education research at the departmental and institutional levels
Work environment that promotes education research
Factors impeding involvement in education researchLimited external funding for education research
Time constraints
Lack of value placed on education research
Expectations of academic position and rank
Strategies to overcome barriers to education researchCollaborations and strategic partnerships and mentorship
Perseverance and creativity
Positioning of oneself to influence change
Advocacy locally and with funding agencies
Strategies at the national level to advance education research in occupational therapyAdvocacy and lobbying for education research
Support for and active role in promoting and funding education research in occupational therapy by national organizations (Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation, Committee on University Fieldwork Education)
Creation of networks and promotion of collaborations
Identification of current trends in education research and future research avenues and directions
Priority areas for occupational therapy education researchAdmissions and selection tools (best practice and predictors)
Student accommodation
Value and effectiveness of teaching strategies and instructional methods
Fieldwork
Classroom–fieldwork integration
Evaluation of new programs
Teaching and assessment of specific competencies
Determinants of competence and alignment with curricular content
Understanding of the role of occupational therapy in interprofessional education and promotion of interprofessional competencies
Evidence-based practice
Technology in education
Professional identity
×
Respondents also noted the value of mentoring and collaboration in nurturing research in this area. For some (particularly those who were not in research positions), this type of support related to development of skills and knowledge to conduct high-quality research, whereas for others, collaboration within and across disciplines added to the richness of the research environment. A wide range of researchable topics were identified as critical to building a strong evidence base. Taken as a whole, the comments suggest that support or lack thereof, whether financial, instrumental (e.g., time, recognition, value in terms of advancement through the ranks), technical (expertise), or collegial, is a key factor determining the extent of involvement in education research.
Discussion
This study was conducted with the goal of gathering data on the breadth and scope of Canadian research on occupational therapy education in an effort to provide a fuller picture of issues related to education research in the occupational therapy profession. A fundamental goal was to stimulate discussion regarding the development of a robust program of education scholarship in occupational therapy in North America and beyond.
Our results indicate that approximately 24% of Canadian occupational therapy faculty members were conducting education-focused research. Most research seemed to be driven by personal and professional interest rather than being systematically driven by needs in the field. Many participants indicated that research in education was a “passion” and something that they engaged in above and beyond their other work. For the majority of respondents, education research was not the main focus of their research activities. The exception was faculty members engaged in fieldwork education or coordination, for whom the main areas of scholarship were related to education, often with very limited allotted research time and resources. These respondents made greater use of collaboration through networking groups related to academic fieldwork. This finding mirrors the prevalence of research on fieldwork topics in recent issues of AJOT and CJOT.
Barriers to education research in occupational therapy are noteworthy. Respondents identified challenges such as lack of funding opportunities for education research, low value placed on education research in some academic institutions, limited training or support in research, and lack of time for this type of research for faculty who were not in a tenure track position or whose research program was not focused primarily on education research.
With respect to funding, participants had sought a broad range of sources or proceeded with limited or nonexistent budgets. In Canada, funding sources for HPE research are limited, and this appears to be the case in the United States as well (Gupta & Bilics, 2014). The primary funding sources identified by respondents appear to reflect current trends in education in Canada, given the current emphasis on interprofessional education (Ateah et al., 2011; Hammick, Freeth, Koppel, Reeves, & Barr, 2007) and health force development and retention in particular (e.g., Health Force Ontario, 2015; Tran et al., 2008). Other grants from major federal funding agencies are extremely competitive and may not be a good match for the nature and scope of the research conducted by occupational therapy education researchers. Given the difficult financial climate and the mandates of major funding agencies in Canada, proposals will likely need to be of broader scope, to have the potential to make significant contributions to health and society, and to be of larger scale than many of the education research studies typically undertaken in our field.
The nature of respondents’ academic appointments was frequently described as a barrier to research productivity. For example, some who were limited-term faculty or had fieldwork portfolios identified a passion for education research but had little allotted research time and a limited capacity to apply for and obtain research funding. The expectations of academic rank represented a further barrier for many respondents. For those in contract academic or non–tenure track positions, research forms only a small portion of their academic duties because of limited time for research, grant preparation, and manuscript writing.
Collaboration and support appeared to be key for many participants but were lacking because of the structure and culture of the academic workplace. Nontenured faculty may lack strong training and experience in research and thus require mentoring and partnerships to produce high-quality work. Participants highlighted the importance of education research being valued and supported at the departmental and institutional levels. These findings suggest that a cultural shift is needed such that workloads include time devoted to education research, faculties build research teams related to their education programs and practices, and standards for academic progression through the ranks recognize and reward education research. These recommendations are consistent with those proposed to enhance education research in the U.S. context (Gupta & Bilics, 2014).
In terms of dissemination of education research, our results indicate that as a whole, respondents were involved in dissemination through peer-reviewed publications, presentations at conferences, and participation in capacity-building sessions in their universities. Only 44 peer-reviewed articles were published over a 10-yr period, and approximately two-thirds (64%) of this research was published in occupational therapy journals, which suggests that respondents were not disseminating their research in journals with a broader audience. It is unknown whether respondents did not submit more broadly because of concerns about applicability to other disciplines or whether they saw occupational therapy journals as being best positioned to influence occupational therapy education.
Publication in HPE journals is becoming increasingly difficult (Norman, 2014) and may be deterring prospective occupational therapy authors from submitting their work to these publication venues. In a 2014 editorial in Advances in Health Sciences Education, Geoff Norman described the state of current research publications in HPE and listed problems with many submissions to the top journals in the field. Only about 13% of the papers submitted to the journal were accepted; many lacked applicability, relevance, and quality (e.g., poor design, overemphasis on self-assessment, weak outcomes), and of those that were rejected, only about 1 in 3 was published elsewhere. Although our data do not permit us to ascertain why participants published primarily in discipline-specific journals rather than HPE journals, the factors Norman listed could be considered in exploring the issues further using qualitative methodologies.
Participants identified a much higher number of presentations (n = 398) than publications (n = 44) within the same 10-yr period. It would be of interest to explore further whether the presentations-to-publications ratio is higher in occupational therapy education research than in other areas of occupational therapy research. The process of publishing an article is often more challenging and time consuming than for conference presentations; factors such as the nature of one’s academic appointment, insufficient resources (e.g., time, research assistants, financial support), and lack of knowledge of journal options may be creating barriers to dissemination of education research through journal articles.
Some of the issues Norman (2014)  highlighted point to the quality of research as a potential concern related to publication and dissemination and may explain the higher volume of knowledge dissemination through presentations and non–peer-reviewed publications. As reported in this study, limited funding may reduce scientific quality, as may the need for research training and mentorship among faculty who are motivated to participate in research but are not tenure track or research faculty.
Finally, the demand by many journal review panels for randomized controlled studies and large sample sizes as evidence of research quality is problematic in a field in which class sizes and curricular standards limit options for creating ideal experimental conditions. It is incumbent on researchers to demonstrate rigor in their research designs regardless of the research methods they use. For example, well-designed and -executed case studies and cohort designs would be feasible and informative relative to education strategies and can be enhanced by replication in multiple sites. Longitudinal designs based on administrative data could also be applicable to some research questions in both the fieldwork and academic domains.
Implications and Directions for Future Research
Occupational therapy has a long tradition of scholarship in education that spans several areas, including admissions, fieldwork, mentorship, interprofessional education, and workforce development. Faculty members across the 14 Canadian occupational therapy programs expressed commitment to education research and cited a need to conduct research in new and innovative areas, many of which are in line with emerging education technologies and new trends within the profession and health care more generally. The following implications were synthesized from the study:
  • Broader research funding, expertise in research methodologies, and institutional support are critical if occupational therapy faculty are to advance the volume and quality of education research.

  • Strategies within and across universities for interprofessional collaborations could be used to support research activities. Examples of such efforts include forming inter- and intraprofessional working groups on education, establishing standards for tenure and promotion that value education research, and creating support mechanisms, including release time, for nontenured or clinical faculty to engage in education research.

  • System-level interventions by professional associations and academic programs are suggested to lobby with funding agencies, universities, and regulatory bodies to create funding opportunities to support education research. Such efforts might also encourage cross-institutional and international collaborations to enhance both the scope and innovation of the resulting proposals.

  • Professional associations could explore the means to create active interest groups focused on education research. This effort would require leadership from education researchers to create viable networks across institutions.

  • Editorial boards of occupational therapy journals play a vital role in promoting a vibrant and welcoming climate for dissemination of education research. Special issues on education and designated columns related to education research are prime ways to foster growth in this regard.

Conclusion
The findings of this study provide an overview of Canadian occupational therapy education research and reveal barriers and constraints to growth and scientific development. The results suggest potential strategies to advance education research in this field at the level of researchers, institutions, journals, and the profession as a whole. Continued development in this important area of inquiry is vital to maintaining a relevant evidence base that supports excellence in research on occupational therapy education.
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Figure 1.
Participants’ involvement in distinct areas of education research inquiry (N = 47).
Note. Classrm = classroom; FW = fieldwork; IP = interprofessional.
Figure 1.
Participants’ involvement in distinct areas of education research inquiry (N = 47).
Note. Classrm = classroom; FW = fieldwork; IP = interprofessional.
×
Table 1.
Journal Venues for Dissemination of Participants’ Education Research (N = 44 Articles)
Journal Venues for Dissemination of Participants’ Education Research (N = 44 Articles)×
Type of JournalJournal TitleNo. of Articles Published
Occupational therapyCanadian Journal of Occupational Therapy14
British Journal of Occupational Therapy4
Occupational Therapy International4
Australian Occupational Therapy Journal2
American Journal of Occupational Therapy2
Occupational Therapy Now2
Non–occupational therapy healthJournal of Allied Health2
Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice1
Disability and Rehabilitation1
Health Information and Libraries Journal1
EducationLearning in Health and Social Care2
Pédagogie Médicale2
British Journal of Educational Technology1
Creative Education1
Teaching and Learning in Medicine1
Educational Technology Research and Development1
Medical Teacher1
Academic Exchange Quarterly1
Revue des Sciences de l’Éducation1
Table 1.
Journal Venues for Dissemination of Participants’ Education Research (N = 44 Articles)
Journal Venues for Dissemination of Participants’ Education Research (N = 44 Articles)×
Type of JournalJournal TitleNo. of Articles Published
Occupational therapyCanadian Journal of Occupational Therapy14
British Journal of Occupational Therapy4
Occupational Therapy International4
Australian Occupational Therapy Journal2
American Journal of Occupational Therapy2
Occupational Therapy Now2
Non–occupational therapy healthJournal of Allied Health2
Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice1
Disability and Rehabilitation1
Health Information and Libraries Journal1
EducationLearning in Health and Social Care2
Pédagogie Médicale2
British Journal of Educational Technology1
Creative Education1
Teaching and Learning in Medicine1
Educational Technology Research and Development1
Medical Teacher1
Academic Exchange Quarterly1
Revue des Sciences de l’Éducation1
×
Table 2.
Facilitators, Barriers, and Priority Areas for Occupational Therapy Education Research Identified by Participants
Facilitators, Barriers, and Priority Areas for Occupational Therapy Education Research Identified by Participants×
CategoryMost Frequently Cited Responses
Factors facilitating involvement in education researchAcademic background, knowledge, and expertise in education
Questions arising from the academic fieldwork setting
Partnerships and collaboration
Personal interest
Funding and time to conduct education research
Mentorship
Value and support for education research at the departmental and institutional levels
Work environment that promotes education research
Factors impeding involvement in education researchLimited external funding for education research
Time constraints
Lack of value placed on education research
Expectations of academic position and rank
Strategies to overcome barriers to education researchCollaborations and strategic partnerships and mentorship
Perseverance and creativity
Positioning of oneself to influence change
Advocacy locally and with funding agencies
Strategies at the national level to advance education research in occupational therapyAdvocacy and lobbying for education research
Support for and active role in promoting and funding education research in occupational therapy by national organizations (Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation, Committee on University Fieldwork Education)
Creation of networks and promotion of collaborations
Identification of current trends in education research and future research avenues and directions
Priority areas for occupational therapy education researchAdmissions and selection tools (best practice and predictors)
Student accommodation
Value and effectiveness of teaching strategies and instructional methods
Fieldwork
Classroom–fieldwork integration
Evaluation of new programs
Teaching and assessment of specific competencies
Determinants of competence and alignment with curricular content
Understanding of the role of occupational therapy in interprofessional education and promotion of interprofessional competencies
Evidence-based practice
Technology in education
Professional identity
Table 2.
Facilitators, Barriers, and Priority Areas for Occupational Therapy Education Research Identified by Participants
Facilitators, Barriers, and Priority Areas for Occupational Therapy Education Research Identified by Participants×
CategoryMost Frequently Cited Responses
Factors facilitating involvement in education researchAcademic background, knowledge, and expertise in education
Questions arising from the academic fieldwork setting
Partnerships and collaboration
Personal interest
Funding and time to conduct education research
Mentorship
Value and support for education research at the departmental and institutional levels
Work environment that promotes education research
Factors impeding involvement in education researchLimited external funding for education research
Time constraints
Lack of value placed on education research
Expectations of academic position and rank
Strategies to overcome barriers to education researchCollaborations and strategic partnerships and mentorship
Perseverance and creativity
Positioning of oneself to influence change
Advocacy locally and with funding agencies
Strategies at the national level to advance education research in occupational therapyAdvocacy and lobbying for education research
Support for and active role in promoting and funding education research in occupational therapy by national organizations (Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation, Committee on University Fieldwork Education)
Creation of networks and promotion of collaborations
Identification of current trends in education research and future research avenues and directions
Priority areas for occupational therapy education researchAdmissions and selection tools (best practice and predictors)
Student accommodation
Value and effectiveness of teaching strategies and instructional methods
Fieldwork
Classroom–fieldwork integration
Evaluation of new programs
Teaching and assessment of specific competencies
Determinants of competence and alignment with curricular content
Understanding of the role of occupational therapy in interprofessional education and promotion of interprofessional competencies
Evidence-based practice
Technology in education
Professional identity
×
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