As a profession, occupational therapy has been repeatedly confronted with the challenge to prove the value of occupation as a therapeutic medium. The types of research pursued by occupational therapists have evolved in response to societal trends, external pressures, and the priorities of individual practitioners. Although many therapists have reconciled the pursuit of research with the roots of occupational therapy through an adherence to naturalistic methods, others continue to value experimental research designs. This article explores the rise of qualitative research methods in occupational therapy and addresses the current dilemma between naturalistic and positivistic designs.

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