Date Presented 04/02/2022

There is currently a lack of published research from practicing OTs. A mixed-methods study using a survey and interviews was conducted with practicing OTs. Three categories emerged from the data: clinicians’ reflections on practice-based evidence, needs for supporting engagement in case study research, and barriers. Findings demonstrate that additional support is needed for practicing OTs who want to contribute their clinical work to case study research.

Primary Author and Speaker: Mackenzi Slamka

Additional Authors and Speakers: Consuelo Kreider

There is an immense value to clinician-driven research, however, a lack of published research by practicing occupational therapists currently exists (Thomas & Law, 2013; Pighills et al, 2013). Practice-Based Evidence focuses on clinician expertise and client outlooks within the practice context to inform the development and use of evaluations and interventions by occupational therapists to support best outcomes for clients (Greber, 2021). Case Study Research showcases novel clinical interventions used by clinicians for a patient or small group of patients, why and how the interventions were used and the outcomes of the interventions for patients (Yin, 2009). Case Study Research is a feasible way in which practicing clinicians can contribute to the body of Practice-Based Evidence. The purpose of this study was to (1) gain understanding of practicing occupational therapy clinicians’ reflections, experiences, and interest in contributing to Practice-Based Evidence through Case Study Research and (2) Identify barriers and information needs of practicing occupational therapy clinicians wishing to engage in scholarship and dissemination of their clinical work through Case Study Research. A mixed-methods design was utilized for this study. Surveys were conducted via the University’s Qualtrics software and semi-structured interviews were conducted with practicing occupational therapists remotely via Teams or Zoom. This study was approved by the sponsoring institution’s Institutional Review Board (IRB202101748). Participants were occupational therapists currently practicing in the US. Inclusion Criteria were: (1) currently practicing, (2) fluent in English (written and verbal); COTAs were excluded from this study. Convenience and snowball sampling were used for recruitment. Recruitment was supported by the sponsoring institution’s Department of Occupational Therapy’s list of fieldwork coordinators and educators. One hundred twenty-five survey responses were received and nine individual interview were conducted. Duplicate and incomplete survey responses were removed prior to analysis, final dataset were 112 survey responses and nine transcripts. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics on SPSS and Excel. Qualitative data was initially separated by question and then grouped into conceptual categories using NVivo software. Qualitative data were separated into conceptual categories that were (1) Clinicians’ Reflections on the Importance of Practice-Based Evidence, (2) Barriers to Participating in Research-Related Projects as a Clinician, and (3) Needs for Supporting Practitioners’ Engagement in Case Study Research. Almost 50% of all clinicians surveyed expressed interest in developing and disseminating case study research via conference presentation, peer reviewed journal article, or article in a practice periodical. Both interview and survey data indicate that mentorship is an important need to help support clinicians in engaging in case study research. Findings demonstrate that, despite interest in contributing to Practice-Based Evidence, there are educational gaps, limited supports, and specific information needs for practicing occupational therapists wishing to engage in scholarship and dissemination of their clinical work through case studies. Future projects will focus on the creation of resources such as a tool-kit or CEU course for practicing occupational therapists.

IMPACT STATEMENT: Additional supports and resources are warranted to support case study research from OT clinicians. This study gives preliminary information which can help initiate distribution of information for practicing clinicians who are interested in sharing their clinical work.


Thomas, A., & Law, M. (2013). Research utilization and evidence-based practice in occupational therapy: a scoping study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67(4), e55-e65.

Pighills, A. C., Plummer, D., Harvey, D., & Pain, T. (2013). Positioning occupational therapy as a discipline on the research continuum: Results of a cross-sectional survey of research experience. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 60(4), 241-251.

Greber, C. (2021). Critical Appraisal of Practice Evidence: A Professional Imperative for Occupational Therapy. New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(1).

Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods (Vol. 5). sage.