An evaluation of collaborative research partnerships in occupational therapy education

Wilby, Helen, Ward, Kath, Kempster, C., Ripley, Wendy, Dunford, C. and Skerratt, L. (2014) An evaluation of collaborative research partnerships in occupational therapy education. In: College of Occupational Therapists 38th Annual Conference and Exhibition, 3-5 June 2014, Brighton, UK.

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A lack of skills and confidence in carrying out research has been identified amongst occupational therapists (Pighills et al, 2013). The consequent predominance of university-led research threatens to exacerbate the practice-research gap (Kielhofner, 2005). This poster describes the benefits and challenges of collaborative research partnerships (Crist, 2010) for occupational therapy students, practice partners and academic supervisors. The aim of the project was to explore the benefits and challenges of the research partnerships from the perspectives of key stakeholders. Action research methodology was used. Five BSc, two MSc (pre-registration) students, six practice partners and four academic supervisors were recruited. Data was collected using questionnaire surveys and semi-structured interviews. All data were analysed thematically. Ethical and research governance approvals were gained from University of Cumbria and relevant NHS trusts respectively. The study was funded by the Higher Education Academy and the University of Cumbria. Findings identified benefits for each stakeholder group. Students emphasised increased confidence and a sense of value and purpose in contributing to future service improvements. Practice partners valued the research findings to aid reflection on working practices and potential service development. Academic supervisors described satisfaction in building enhanced research capacity through practice-based projects. Communication challenges and increased stress and workload were reported; however, these did not outweigh the benefits. Importantly, the research collaborations were perceived to contribute to service enhancements and therefore yield benefits for service-users. These findings illustrate the potential of collaborative research partnerships to build confidence and research capacity in future occupational therapists and thereby assist in reduction of the practice-research divide and support service development.

Crist, P.A. (2010) Adapting Research Instruction to Support the Scholarship of Practice: Practice-Scholar Partnerships. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 24(1), 39–55.
Kielhofner, G. (2005) A scholarship of practice: Creating discourse between theory, research and practice. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 19(1/2), 7–16.
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.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Journal / Publication Title: British Journal of Occupational Therapy
Publisher: College of Occupational Therapists
ISSN: 1477-6006
Departments: Academic Departments > Health, Psychology & Social Studies (HPSS) > Rehabilitation
Additional Information: Helen Wilby is a Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, University of Cumbria. Her interests include development of research capacity, assessment and clinical reasoning. Kath Ward is a Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, University of Cumbria. She is interested in facilitating research partnerships between students and practitioners. Session 83.1.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 13:09
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2021 08:45


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