Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Fieldwork is an integral phase of occupational therapy education, bolstered by a small but growing evidence base. A broad understanding of the state of that evidence base is necessary to inform the directions for future growth. The purpose of this work was to establish the current state of occupational therapy fieldwork literature, map that literature to recognized criteria for educational research, and identify gaps in the existing literature. Authors followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines to conduct a mapping review of articles with a primary focus on fieldwork education of occupational therapy (OT) or occupational therapy assistant (OTA) students in United States (Accreditation for Occupational Therapy Education)-based programs. Mapping criteria included level of education [OT, OTA], level of fieldwork [Level I, Level II], and categories of the AOTA Education Research Agenda - Revised (2018). Sources included four databases (Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, ERIC, PubMed) and one additional journal (Journal of Occupational Therapy Education). A total of 1,619 articles were identified, with 67 articles meeting inclusion criteria. The 67 included articles disproportionately focused on Level II OT fieldwork (53%, n=36), with sparse representation of Level I OTA fieldwork (1.5%, n=1), and addressed only two categories of the Education Research Agenda (2018; 80%, n=54). Level I fieldwork, occupational therapy assistant programs, and large swaths of the association’s Education Research Agenda (2018) were dramatically (or completely) underrepresented in fieldwork education research, suggesting important priorities for the immediate future of occupational therapy fieldwork education.


William E. Janes, OTR/L, MSCI, OTD is Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator in the Occupational Therapy and Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs at the University of Missouri College of Health Sciences. He also serves as Chair of the Research Ad Hoc Committee within the AOTA Academic Fieldwork Coordinators - Academic Leadership Council (AFWC-ALC).

Becki Cohill, OTD, OTR/L is a Clinical Associate Professor and Doctoral Capstone Coordinator for the Division of Occupational Therapy at Binghamton University. She was previously an Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Doctoral Capstone Coordinator and Assistant Professor at the University of St. Augustine of Health Sciences.

Ann B. Cook, Ed.D., OTD, OTR/L, CPAM is an Associate Professor, Program Director, and Department Chair of the OTD Program at Slippery Rock University. She previously served as the Doctoral Capstone Coordinator for six years at a private university. Her scholarship focus is student self-efficacy in relation to clinical experiences.

Anne Escher, OTD, OTR is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Boston University where she was the Level I Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for 8 years. Her scholarly interests include inclusive teaching and learning for didactic and experiential occupational therapy education.

Stacia Galey, OTD, OTR is the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for the OTD program at Xavier University and has clinical experience in community-based, outpatient, and school-based settings. She teaches courses related to fieldwork, culture, group processing, and behavioral health. Stacia serves as the Regulations Chair for OOTA and co-chair of the Ohio AFWC Consortium.

Debra Hanson, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA is a professor and faculty at the University of Mary Occupational Therapy Program in Fargo, ND. She is an advocate for use of research evidence to inform fieldwork education practices and has published several resources to support students and fieldwork educators in level I and II fieldwork.

Elizabeth LeQuieu, PhD, OTR/L previously served as an academic fieldwork coordinator for over 12 years and is now an Associate Dean of Academics and Capstone Coordinator. She earned the credential Certified Leader in Academia (CLA) from AOTA’s Academic Leadership Institution in 2018.

Devon Olson, MLIS, AHIP is a Research and Education Librarian at the University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Her work focuses on information literacy instruction and the role of disciplinary epistemologies in the information literacy practices of health sciences students and practitioners.

Kari Williams, EdD, OTR is the program director for Abilene Christian University. Prior to this she was the founding academic fieldwork coordinator at ACU. She has 22 years practice experience primarily in the inpatient rehab setting and administration. Research interests include pedagogies in OT education and student transition to practitioner.

Jayson Zeigler, DHSc, MS, OTR currently works for American Senior Communities, Washington Healthcare Center. He was previously appointed as an Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for IUPUI (2020- 2022) and the University of Indianapolis (2016-2020) OT education programs.

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.