Clinical reasoning and the occupational therapy curriculum

Karen P.Y. Liu, Che Hin Chan, Christina W.Y. Hui-Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Several reasoning styles are used by occupational therapists when they evaluate clients' problems. This study investigated the influence of the occupational therapy curriculum in Hong Kong on therapists' clinical reasoning styles. Two groups of therapists with different clinical experience were recruited. Through interviews with the therapists after identifying clients' problems using the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure, their clinical reasoning styles were explored. The local occupational therapy curriculum was analysed to isolate the components that influence clinical reasoning. Results showed that more experienced therapists use conditional reasoning that considers clients' needs in their future lives whereas junior therapists use procedural reasoning that focuses on clients' disabilities. The analysis of the occupational therapy curricidum indicated that it prepared the students with an equal emphasis on theoretical and clinical subjects and fieldwork practice. The present curriculum ivas useful in providing educational preparation for novice therapists. However, the period of fieldwork practice can be lengthened to allow adequate maturation of clinical reasoning skills. Problem-based learning can be incorporated to facilitate students' problem-solving and self-directed learning skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-183
Number of pages11
JournalOccupational Therapy International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


  • Conditional reasoning and long-term disabilities
  • Problem-based learning
  • Putting theory into practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy

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