Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


One of the expected outcomes of higher education for all entry-level occupational therapy (OT) students is to develop the capacity to think critically and engage in complex clinical reasoning. Beliefs about the justification of knowledge (epistemic cognition) and the nature of knowledge (ontological cognition) underlie the ability to develop sophisticated ways of thinking. There is a scarcity of research specific to occupational therapy students in the literature related to epistemic and ontological cognition. Based on a discussion prompted during an AOTA Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) workshop in 2014, OT faculty members from three entry-level occupational therapy programs initiated a longitudinal SoTL project designed to assess the epistemic and ontological beliefs of their respective student cohorts and compare results cross-institutionally. The Epistemic Beliefs Inventory (EBI), a modified Four-Quadrant Scale (mFQS), and 4 open-ended questions were used to assess student views at the beginning and end of a period of didactic learning in each occupational therapy program. Results suggest changes in student views may be based on the context and curriculum of the OT program in which they were enrolled. The findings associated with this SoTL project have implications for OT educators who want to help their students develop more mature views about knowledge in preparation for the metacognitive demands of clinical practice.


Diane Long, EdD., MOTR/L is an Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, at Ithaca College. Her primary areas of interest are pediatrics and college student learning.

Anita Mitchell, PhD, OTR, FAOTA is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Her practice experience is in pediatrics, and she has a number of publications related to pediatrics and education in various professional journals.

Carla A. Chase, Ed.D., OTRL is a Professor in the Occupational Therapy Department at Western Michigan University. Her current work focuses on community-based health promotion for older adults along with exploration of best practices in education within a university setting.

Bernadette Mineo, PhD, OTR/L is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, at A. T. Still Univeristy-Arizona School of Health Sciences. Her current primary areas of interest include curriculum design and student learning, and development and evaluation of community-based health promotion and wellness programs.

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.