Document Type (Journals)
Critical thinking is a component of occupational therapy education that is often intertwined with professional reasoning, even though it is a distinct construct. While other professions have focused on describing and studying the disciplinary-specific importance of critical thinking, the small body of literature in occupational therapy education on critical thinking has not been systematically analyzed. Therefore, a systematic mapping review was conducted to examine, describe, and map existing scholarly work about critical thinking in occupational therapy education. Inclusion/exclusion criteria were set, database searches conducted, and 63 articles identified that met criteria for full review based on their abstracts. Thirty-five articles were excluded during full review, leaving 28 articles for analysis and coding using a data extraction tool. Eleven articles (39%) had a primary focus of critical thinking, and of those 11 articles, the majority were about instructional methods. Qualitative inquiry (n = 9) was the most frequently used method to examine critical thinking among the study full sample (N = 28). Four themes emerged: 1) critical thinking is a process with varied outcomes; 2) learner aptitude is essential for developing critical thinking; 3) critical thinking can be facilitated through various methods; and 4) critical thinking underpins other important constructs in occupational therapy. Needs that were identified were that critical thinking is best intentionally threaded across a curriculum with outcomes in mind; and more studies examining critical thinking in occupational therapy education, employing diverse designs, are needed.
Jennifer S. Pitonyak, PhD, OTR/L, SCFES, Associate Professor and Associate Director, School of Occupational Therapy, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA.
Sarah Nielsen, PhD, OTR/L, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.
Shirley P. O’Brien, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY.
Cecille Corsilles-Sy, PhD, OTR/L, Director for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, Pima Medical Institute, Renton, WA.
Devon Olson Lambert, MLIS, Research & Education Librarian, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.
Lynn E. Jaffe, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Professor and Program Director for Occupational Therapy, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, FL.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declarations of interest.
Pitonyak, J. S., Nielsen, S., O'Brien, S. P., Corsilles-Sy, C., Lambert, D. O., & Jaffe, L. E. (2020). Critical Thinking in Occupational Therapy Education: A Systematic Mapping Review. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 4 (4). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2020.040403
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