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Credentials Display

Barb Hooper, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA; Jyothi Gupta, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA; Andrea Bilics, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA; Steven D. Taff, PhD, OTR/L, FNAP, FAOTA

Abstract

The preferred focus for education research in occupational therapy increasingly rests on studies that investigate efficacy and effectiveness in the teaching-learning context. While important, the almost exclusive promotion of outcomes-focused studies can come at the expense of other forms of inquiry, including philosophy, history, and theory-building. To fully inform education and enhance practice, outcomes-focused research needs the conceptual foundation provided by philosophical, historical, and theory-building studies. In this paper, the authors suggest that the research enterprise in occupational therapy education is in its infancy and, therefore, quite susceptible to shortcuts that head straight to outcomes. To address this issue, the authors promote an approach where theory-building studies and philosophical explorations both precede and enrich all research endeavors, including those aimed at identifying “what works” in professional education.