Title

“Academic innovation in service of” what? An analysis of occupational science dissertation abstracts

1

Location

Armory Room

Start Time

1-10-2016 10:30 AM

End Time

1-10-2016 12:00 PM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Statement of purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to analyze what kind of science occupational science is based on the kinds of scholars its doctoral programs are producing. Occupational science has been in existence for over 25 years and is about to graduate its 100th doctoral student in the United States. Despite these markers of maturation, there continue to be debates about the purpose of occupational science. Scholars have previously considered the aims, health, and trajectory of the discipline by reviewing publication (Glover, 2009) and presentation (Pierce et al., 2009) trends, developing vision statements (Laliberte Rudman et al., 2008) and developmental assessments (Clark, 2006; Molke et al., 2004), and revisiting the historical outgrowth of occupational science from occupational therapy. The critical mass of doctorally-trained occupational science graduates in the United States suggests a new vein of exploration: determining what kinds of contributions occupational science graduates have made to the discipline through their studies.

Methods: This secondary analysis examines the work of 90 graduates who attended doctoral-level occupational science degree programs at the University of Southern California, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, or Towson University. To complete this analysis, we collaboratively developed a coding list to determine whether students’ studies (as exemplified by dissertation titles and abstracts) were directly or indirectly oriented toward the primary purpose of occupational science – that is, how they developed knowledge about humans as occupational beings. We independently coded each abstract, creating additional codes as needed through an iterative process, and merged our results for further analysis.

Results: The results of our ongoing analysis will illustrate the proportion of published occupational science graduate studies that directly or indirectly relate to the primary purpose of occupational science. Thematic elements of the studies will be used to illustrate the focal points of students’ research; what aspects of occupation have garnered the interest of emerging occupational science scholars; and what this body of work portends for the science.

Implications for occupational science: The results of this analysis will illuminate what kind of science occupational science is becoming based on the kinds of scholarship its graduate students are producing. Such information will help determine what questions are relevant to ask about the discipline’s trajectory as it continues to grow.

Discussion questions:

  1. What kinds of scientists are occupational science doctoral programs producing?
  2. How does doctoral student scholarship relate to the stated purposes of occupational science?
  3. What questions about the discipline’s purpose should we continue to ask going forward?

References

Clark, F. (2006). One person’s thoughts on the future of occupational science. Journal of Occupational Science, 13(3), 167-179.

Glover, J. S. (2009). The literature of occupational science: A systematic, quantitative examination of peer-reviewed publications from 1996-2006. Journal of Occupational Science, 16(2), 92-103.

Laliberte Rudman, D., Dennhardt, S., Fok, D., Huot, S., Molke, D., Park, A., & Zur, B. (2008). A vision for occupational science: Reflecting on our disciplinary culture. Journal of Occupational Science, 15(3), 136- 146.

Molke, D. K., Laliberte Rudman, D., & Polatajko, H. J. (2004). The promise of occupational science: A developmental assessment of an emerging academic discipline. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(5), 269-280.

Pierce, D., Atler, K., Baltisberger, J., Fehringer, E., Hunter, E., Malkawi, S., & Parr, T. (2010). Occupational science: A data-based American perspective. Journal of Occupational Science, 17(4), 204-215.

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Oct 1st, 10:30 AM Oct 1st, 12:00 PM

“Academic innovation in service of” what? An analysis of occupational science dissertation abstracts

Armory Room

Statement of purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to analyze what kind of science occupational science is based on the kinds of scholars its doctoral programs are producing. Occupational science has been in existence for over 25 years and is about to graduate its 100th doctoral student in the United States. Despite these markers of maturation, there continue to be debates about the purpose of occupational science. Scholars have previously considered the aims, health, and trajectory of the discipline by reviewing publication (Glover, 2009) and presentation (Pierce et al., 2009) trends, developing vision statements (Laliberte Rudman et al., 2008) and developmental assessments (Clark, 2006; Molke et al., 2004), and revisiting the historical outgrowth of occupational science from occupational therapy. The critical mass of doctorally-trained occupational science graduates in the United States suggests a new vein of exploration: determining what kinds of contributions occupational science graduates have made to the discipline through their studies.

Methods: This secondary analysis examines the work of 90 graduates who attended doctoral-level occupational science degree programs at the University of Southern California, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, or Towson University. To complete this analysis, we collaboratively developed a coding list to determine whether students’ studies (as exemplified by dissertation titles and abstracts) were directly or indirectly oriented toward the primary purpose of occupational science – that is, how they developed knowledge about humans as occupational beings. We independently coded each abstract, creating additional codes as needed through an iterative process, and merged our results for further analysis.

Results: The results of our ongoing analysis will illustrate the proportion of published occupational science graduate studies that directly or indirectly relate to the primary purpose of occupational science. Thematic elements of the studies will be used to illustrate the focal points of students’ research; what aspects of occupation have garnered the interest of emerging occupational science scholars; and what this body of work portends for the science.

Implications for occupational science: The results of this analysis will illuminate what kind of science occupational science is becoming based on the kinds of scholarship its graduate students are producing. Such information will help determine what questions are relevant to ask about the discipline’s trajectory as it continues to grow.

Discussion questions:

  1. What kinds of scientists are occupational science doctoral programs producing?
  2. How does doctoral student scholarship relate to the stated purposes of occupational science?
  3. What questions about the discipline’s purpose should we continue to ask going forward?