Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sarah Nielsen

Second Advisor

Cherie Graves


Occupational Therapy -- education; Problem-Based Learning


Background: In occupational therapy education, it is unclear what educational methods best facilitate the development of critical thinking. Therefore, this pilot study explored whether Level I fieldwork coupled with reflective learning opportunities impacts the development of critical thinking skills.

Methods: The researchers employed a pre and post-test design which measured both self-perception of critical thinking and actual performance of critical thinking. Specifically, the Health Science Reasoning Test (HSRT) and a reflective writing assignment graded with a rubric were utilized to measure actual performance. The Self-Assessment of Critical Reflection and Reasoning (SACRR) was used to measure self-perceived performance of critical thinking.

Results: In this study, participants demonstrated improvements in critical thinking following a Level I fieldwork. Specific improvements were found in the areas of evaluation and induction skills, which are subscales of the HRST. There was also an increase in participants’ self-perceived confidence in utilizing critical thinking skills. The use of reflective writing assignment was found to increase the participants’ ability to use evaluation, inference, and deduction skills.

Conclusion: Experiential learning experiences coupled with a reflective writing assignment is an effective means of developing critical thinking skills. Future research should utilize a bigger sample size to confirm the findings and increase the generalizability of the results.