There is a lack of knowledge on the scope and range of research undertaken by Occupational Therapy (OT) scholars in Canada. Filling this knowledge gap has significant implications for shaping policy, funding opportunities. To these ends, the ACOTUP research committee, using a national survey, aimed to the following questions: What is the current profile of research activities among OT researchers in Canada? In which areas are researchers making contributions to OT in theory and practice? Which populations participate in OT research, and which methodological approaches are used? Hundred and twenty-one faculty (70% response rate) with an appointment at a Canadian university with an OT Department from all 14 Canadian universities responded to the survey. The research committee is currently analyzing the data and in our next blog we will share with you the results with the intention to increase collaboration among ACOTUP members.
Another activity to increase collaboration and strengthen research capacity is the developing Canadian Network for Trainees Involved in Occupation-Focused Research. The research committee, in communication with the network initiators (Lisa Engel & Flora To-Miles), is currently working together towards meeting the needs of the network members. This network aims (1) to connect research-stream trainees (i.e., thesis based masters; doctorate; post-doctorate fellows) across Canada who self-identify as being interested or involved in occupation-focused research and (2) provide focused learning and sharing opportunities for network members. The network initiators conducted an online open meeting through CAOT on February 13, 2019 with 14 online participants and 7 other trainees emailing to indicate interest in the network but inability to attend the open meeting; the network email list now contains over 40 contacts for individuals. Network initiators identified that aligning with the CAOT will not facilitate an inclusive network, as non-CAOT members will be excluded from activities beyond the open meeting. Therefore, the network initiators have expressed interest in aligning with the ACOTUP research committee to develop an inclusive trainee network.
The future activities that may arise from this network, as identified by open-meeting participants, are: (1) online meetings or written information for network members to share about their research activities and interests with the aim to develop future collaborations; (2) online presentations to address member identified learning needs (e.g., pragmatics of participatory research methods, preparing for early career academic and non-academic employment); and (3) in-person meet-ups, both academic and social in focus, at conferences where multiple network members will be attending (e.g., CAOT, CSOS, AOTA). With an interested network member they are also exploring how best to develop the group to be language inclusive for both Francophone and Anglophone members.