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To PhD or not to PhD – where do we work is the question?

By Donald Maciver and S E Henderson


The points that Barnitt (2002) raises are of fundamental importance to the continuing development of the profession of occupational therapy as they highlight the need for sound, evidence-based practice. This is further acknowledged in Section 5.6.3 of the profession’s own code of ethics (COT 1995), where it is suggested that ‘occupational therapists have a duty to ensure that, wherever possible, their professional practice is based on established research findings’ (pg 14). It could be suggested that this need is at odds with the current research capacity of occupational therapy. Bannigan, discussing this issue, (2001:425) poses the question ‘is research valued as a legitimate career pathway in occupational therapy?’ It would appear, from her own analysis of the question, that it is not. She believes research is seen as ‘the last resort option for the unskilled, no-hopers of the profession’, and that it is seen as a career pathway for those who would fail as clinicians. Citing Ilott and White (2001), she suggests that a compounding difficulty lies with the limited post-doctoral opportunities available for occupational therapists. This topic, i.e. the issue limited post-doctoral opportunities available for occupational therapists, is the main focus of this article

Publisher: College of Occupational Therapists
Year: 2003
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