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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337

S. Afr. j. occup. ther. vol.42 n.1 Pretoria  2012




Undergraduate occupational therapy students' engagement in qualitative research: Identifying research problems and questions through reflection while in a community fieldwork setting



Jo-Celene de Jongh

PhD. Senior Lecturer, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of the Western Cape





As part of the occupational therapy undergraduate programme at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), students carry out group research projects while in their fieldwork placements. The purpose of the Research module is to introduce them to basic qualitative research methods. Following the progress of a group of students in a community fieldwork setting as an example, this article is a commentary on how they use the steps of the community process as a guideline to identify possible research questions. The author will highlight the process that students follow to refine their research questions, the support they require to identify priority problems, the barriers that students face while conducting research in fieldwork, and the positive outcomes for students and the community. In conclusion the community process provided the students with a theoretical guideline, specifically the needs assessment and analysis steps of the process in order for them to conceptualise a research question within a community fieldwork setting.

Key words: occupational therapy, undergraduate research, qualitative research, community process, fieldwork, culture, reflection


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Jo-Celene de Jongh

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