Our Occupational Therapy Research Priorities

Our major research activities are positioned for local alignment with Monash University’s research priorities and global alignment with the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) eight international research priorities for occupational therapy.

Each research priority includes its scope, and examples of our current projects and research partners.


Research priority 1: Effectiveness of Occupational Therapy Interventions

Scope for researching this area in occupational therapy includes focused and broad interventions, in a variety of service models, with a range of client groups, and will incorporate demonstration of the best use of outcome measures that are psychometrically sound, person-centered qualitative outcomes, and cost-effectiveness.


Research priority 2: Evidence Based Practice & Knowledge Translation

Scope for researching this area in occupational therapy includes how occupational therapists currently practice with respect to the evidence available; how they could learn to access and understand the evidence base relevant to their practice; what professional and educational interventions are effective in assisting occupational therapists to change their practice; attitudes to evidence-based practice and knowledge translation; development of clinical practice guidelines; and reviews of evidence around specific practice areas.


Research priority 3: Participation in Everyday Life

Scope for researching this area in occupational therapy includes any individual of any age group, or group/community who are unable to participate in desired occupations due to a variety of barriers, for example, unemployed people, people with mental health problems, people with disabilities, people unable to access community activities and occupations due to mobility issues (e.g., fitness to drive) or social isolation, people in prison, returned veterans, indigenous people, and people from diverse cultures or language groups. Research topics may include advocacy, environmental interventions, lifestyle programs, with a focus on participation as an outcome.


Research priority 4: Healthy Ageing

Scope for researching this area in occupational therapy includes older people from whatever age is considered appropriate to be considering aging, and will concern the impact of common conditions that are observed in this population on occupation, such as dementia and falls injuries, common social issues such as social isolation and exclusion, poverty and housing, and common environmental concerns such as discrimination, inclusive built environments, needs of carers, residential care options, access to work, as well as programs to prevent poor health.


Research priority 5: Occupational Therapy & Chronic Conditions

Scope for researching this area in occupational therapy includes conditions experienced by a person of any age that has not been resolved post rehabilitation or postacute care, and is likely to continue to be managed in the primary health care environment or in the community. Chronic conditions may include childhood conditions such as autism, stroke, cancer survivorship, HIV/AIDS, mental health and recovery, musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, and lifestyle related issues such as diabetes and obesity.


Research priority 6: Sustainable Community Development & Population Based Interventions

Scope for researching this area in occupational therapy includes practice with populations such as homeless people, displaced people, rural populations, people who are at risk of experiencing violence or conflict, refugees, and interventions related to disaster prevention, management, and recovery. This could also involve relationships with nongovernment agencies and evaluating effective models of service delivery.


Research priority 7: Technology and Occupational Therapy

Scope for researching this area in occupational therapy includes both everyday technology as well as high-level systems level technology, and how it relates both to the practice of occupational therapists as well as the participation of clients and communities in valued occupations. It could include the use of telehealth or providing interventions via distance mode, specific technologies to improve independent engagement in occupations, the design of technologies, knowledge, and confidence about the use of technologies by occupational therapists, and the adoption of technology by clients and carers.


Research priority 8: Occupational Therapy Professional Issues

Scope for researching this area in occupational therapy includes topics such as the effective education of entry-level occupational therapy students (e.g., attitudes, effective learning strategies, diversity of the student body, effectiveness of fieldwork models, and relationship of fieldwork experiences to future competencies), needs of occupational therapists in particular areas of practice, effectiveness of continuing professional education, evaluation of international competencies, and improving the awareness of the profession among the public and other discipline groups.