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Hannah K. Burke, MS, OTR/L; Anita C. Bundy, Sc.D, OTL, FAOTA, FOTARA; Shelly J. Lane, Ph.D, OTR/L, FAOTA


Reasoning, reflection, and evidence-based practice are considered essential to the delivery of high-quality occupational therapy services. These skills are highlighted in occupational therapy practice acts and educational standards. Unfortunately, although clearly integral to practice, reasoning, reflection, and evidence-based practice are rarely and inconsistently defined in the profession of occupational therapy. Because the terms reasoning, reflection, and evidence-based practice are used so frequently, and so often their definitions are assumed, occupational therapy students may be unclear on how they will be evaluated and, ultimately, what they will be expected to do in practice in relation to these skills. Through a review of literature, this paper identifies the need for clear conceptualizations of professional skills in occupational therapy and synthesizes the significance of reasoning, reflection, and evidence-based practice to both the education of occupational therapy students and the practice of occupational therapy. This Opinions in the Profession paper seeks to begin a discussion around actions required to advance occupational therapy as a profession through the process of clarifying how these skills are conceptualized, taught, and implemented to promote clear language in literature, education, and practice with the hope of positively impacting therapy services.


The authors declare that they have no competing financial, professional, or personal interest that might have influenced the performance or presentation of the work described in this manuscript.