Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Cindee Q. Peterson

Second Advisor

Doris Smith

Third Advisor

Debra Lindstrom Hazel

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Diagnostic reasoning is an essential feature of the occupational therapy treatment process. Acquisition of diagnostic reasoning skills is difficult for students, however, because of paradoxical developmental limitations faced during transition from classroom to clinical learning environments. Educators in pre-professional occupational therapy curriculums are searching for educational methods to prepare students for diagnostic reasoning tasks inherent in practice.

This experimental study compared a computer-simulated diagnostic reasoning activity with a more traditional case study reviewing activity in terms of effect on accuracy of problem identification among occupational therapy students. Results found no significant difference between the effect of computer-assisted instruction and case study review on diagnostic reasoning skills of entry-level occupational therapy students. However, computer-assisted instruction activity was rated significantly higher by students in terms of affective meaning.