Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Beliefs about knowledge and knowing, or epistemic and ontological cognition (EOC), are potential influences on critical thinking, yet little research exploring these relationships has been published in educational literature or in occupational therapy (OT). This study examined the association between domain-general and OT-specific EOC and critical thinking in OT students. The Epistemological Beliefs Inventory, modified Four-Quadrant Scale, and Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal were administered to a convenience sample of 102 OT students, before and after the didactic portion of an OT program. Results of logistic regression indicated that only the general belief in an omniscient authority as a source of knowledge was a statistically significant predictor of critical thinking, both before and after the didactic portion of the program. These findings partially support the hypothesis that EOC and critical thinking are related. Domain-general EOC and OT-specific ontological cognition also became more sophisticated over time, but OT-specific epistemic cognition and critical thinking did not change significantly.


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 published a number of papers related to pediatrics and occupational therapy education in various professional journals.

Walter Stevens, MPH, MBA, CQF is Data Analyst, Thoracic Oncology Research, at Baptist Cancer Center, Memphis, TN. His experience is in data analysis, biostatistics, and simulation models.

Vikki G. Nolan, DSc, MPH is Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Master of Public Health Coordinator, and Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Memphis. She has extensive experience in epidemiologic study design, interpretation, and data analysis.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

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.