Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Occupational therapy education must teach using contemporary and evidence-based practices that yield graduates with clinical reasoning skills to successfully practice in dynamic and challenging environments. Researchers used a mixed-methods research design to identify the most frequently used and valued instructional methods for developing clinical reasoning with entry-level occupational therapy students. Researchers recruited full-time educators teaching in entry-level occupational therapy programs throughout the United States. Ninety-two occupational therapy educators completed the survey for the quantitative portion of the study. Subsequently, six occupational therapy educators participated in an interview for the qualitative portion of the study. Participants most frequently used laboratory experiences and least frequently used rotating chair discussion for developing clinical reasoning. Participants perceived experiential learning as the most valuable and rotating chair discussion as the least valuable instructional method for developing clinical reasoning. The three themes of the educator, the student, and the environment emerged from the qualitative data. Outcomes suggest occupational therapy educators must embrace the role of facilitator and continue to explore a variety of effective instructional methods. In order to achieve this role, occupational therapy educators need to engage in personal and professional development. Researchers provide additional strategies for developing the clinical reasoning skills required for successful occupational therapy practice.


Whitney Henderson, MOT, OTR/L is a Post-Professional Doctorate of Occupational Therapy student at Creighton University. In addition, she is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Missouri – Columbia. Dr. Brenda Coppard, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA is a Professor in Occupational Therapy. She currently serves as the Dean for Assessment in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions at Creighton University. Dr. Coppard holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration, Curriculum, and Instruction from the University of Nebraska. Yongyue Qi, M.S. is a research analyst at the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions at Creighton University. He is responsible for assisting faculty, residents, and students with various portions of research projects. He holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine and a master’s degree in Statistics.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.