Doing occupation: A narrative inquiry into occupational therapists’ stories of occupation-based practice

  • Author / Creator
    Burwash, Susan C
  • This narrative inquiry explores occupational therapists’ experiences of doing occupation – attempting to work in ways that are congruent with their professional commitment to using activities (occupations) as therapy, and focusing on enabling clients to participate in their valued occupations as the goal for therapy. The inquiry emerged from my own experiences as an occupational therapy clinician, manager and educator. Four occupational therapists with diverse experiences as occupational therapists shared their experiences of doing occupation during individual conversations with me and group discussions, over an eleven-month period in 2010 - 2011. Field texts included tape-recorded and transcribed conversations of individual and group discussions, field notes related to these conversations, a digital story created by one participant, journal entries, research poems and images, and collages made by two of the participants. Research texts were composed with each participant, in the form of narrative accounts that inquire into participants’ experiences, using the three-dimensional narrative inquiry space with dimensions of temporality, sociality, and place. Four wonders related to doing occupation that I marked as I looked across the four narrative accounts for resonance and for bumping up places are discussed further: (1) reaching for the real in practice, (2) identities, (3) complex issues related to the heart, mind and soul of occupational therapy (Wood, 2004) and, (4) participants’ strategies for resisting or escaping systemic pressures to practice in ways which are not compatible with their personal practical knowledge. These were explored through further inquiry into participants’ experiences and through looking at the occupational therapy/occupational science literature. The personal, practical and social implications of this inquiry are discussed – how my practices as an educator will change, how educators and clinicians might be able to use this inquiry to reflect on their practice experiences, and why and how narrative inquiry may provide a valuable methodological approach for occupational therapy and occupational sciences researchers.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Specialization
    • Rehabilitation Science
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Cary Brown (Occupational Therapy)
    • Tammy Hopper (Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Cary Brown (Occupational Therapy
    • Diane Conrad (Secondary Education)
    • D. Jean Clandinin (Elementary Education)
    • Janice Huber (Early Childhood Education, University of Regina)
    • Tammy Hopper (Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology)
    • Leah Phillips (Public Health, Concordia University College of Alberta)