Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Occupation is the core focus of the occupational therapy profession and is a complex concept for students to know and understand. The aim of this review was to understand how teaching and learning occupation has been represented by educators and students across qualitative studies in occupational therapy education. A qualitative evidence synthesis was conducted which included searching four databases; CINAHL, Medline, Scopus, and Embase. Research articles were screened using inclusion and exclusion criteria by two reviewers. The search resulted in 328 records being identified, with 13 articles included. The methodological quality of included articles was assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP). The CASP information was tabulated and then all studies were compared and contrasted. The key characteristics of each article were entered into Excel, and then analyzed to generate themes. According to the CASP qualitative tool the studies were of reasonable methodological quality, with most studies addressing the majority of questions. Themes that emerged from the article findings were: (1) educators are the instruments of occupation-centered education and (2) learning in context and through doing form distinctive pedagogies. The review provided insights about strategies being used by educators to teach occupation such as teaching it as a concept related to self and as a tool for practice, and the use of active and experiential learning approaches. It was evident that the scholarship for teaching occupation is in its early stages. Further research using diverse methods is needed to support the development of evidence-based guidelines for teaching occupation.


Mikaylah Miller, BOccThy(Hons) was a student occupational therapist at Griffith University at the time of this research and graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with Honours.

Melanie Roberts, MClinRehab is a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy at Griffith University in Australia. She has significant experience in tertiary education and her research interests include scholarship of learning and teaching.

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.