Learn about areas for future research using AOTA’s new Research Opportunities Tables.
View and Contribute to the Research Opportunities Tables
The Research Opportunities Tables provide an overview of the current available evidence on interventions within the scope of occupational therapy practice. It can be used as a tool to guide the research community during the topic planning process. Based on systematic reviews conducted by content experts and presented in the AOTA Practice Guidelines and Special Issues of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, the tables indicate that there is strong evidence to support an intervention or that there is moderate, mixed, or few studies to support the intervention and therefore it is an area for future research. For more information about choosing an appropriate priority research area, review For questions, or further information about the Research Opportunities Tables, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To choose a topic:
- Browse the practice area tabs at the top of the page to find an area of interest.
- Scroll down the page to browse the different categories and interventions within the practice area.
- Look for the strength of evidence in the far right column of the page and find a topic of interest. For more information on choosing topics of priority to the profession, please see the FAQ below.
- Find out more about the research topic by exploring the resources used to create the tables.
- Share your research plans with AOTA through a brief survey.
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Q: What are the Research Opportunities Tables?
A: The Research Opportunities Tables provide an overview of areas for future research within the scope of occupational therapy practice to help researchers plan a research project.
Q: What information was used to develop the Research Opportunities Tables?
A: The information in the Research Opportunities Tables is based on results of findings from systematic reviews conducted by content experts and presented in the AOTA Practice Guidelines and Special Issues of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy.
Q: Among the interventions listed as “areas for future research”, how do you choose a topic that is a priority research area for the profession?
A: When reviewing and choosing among interventions listed as “areas for future research”, you should keep in mind that intervention-based occupational therapy research should be focused on client-centered and occupation-based services that promote meaningful engagement in everyday life. Students are encouraged to speak to faculty members about potential research topics to make sure they are choosing topic areas that are important and relevant to the profession. Before choosing a topic, it is also important to review the current research to date on the topic. More information on the topics can be found in the Occupational Therapy Practice Guidelines series and Special Issues of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, resources used to develop the Research Opportunities Tables.
Q: I do not see my research area of interest listed on the tables. Why aren’t all major topic areas in the scope of occupational therapy practice listed on the tables? How can I still contribute to the tables?
A: The Research Opportunities Tables only list intervention-based research topics that are covered in the most recent Practice Guidelines Series. As more Practice Guidelines are released each year, more topics will be added to the tables. If the interventions listed in each topic area are not specifically applicable to your research topic, such as assessment-based topics and other research areas, you are still able to contribute to the tables by clicking “add your research information to the table” listed on each table.
Q: Is there a search function for the tables?
A: The tables are not intended to be a database and therefore do not have a formal search function. However, once you choose a practice area of interest from the top tables on the tables, click Ctrl + F to search for key words on the page.
Q: After using the tables to choose a research topic, where can I find more information on the evidence for the intervention?
A: The tables are based on systematic reviews featured in the AOTA Practice Guidelines series and Special Issues of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. Among other relevant content, these resources include Evidence Tables that list summaries, results, limitations, and implications of all studies included in the review. This information provided in these resources can be helpful for developing a literature review as well as planning and implementing your research project. Links to these resources are provided below.
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The following Occupational Therapy Practice Guidelines and Special Issues of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT) offer in-depth analysis and interpretation of the evidence used to create the Research Opportunities Tables.
Early Childhood (Birth through 5 Years)
Sensory Processing and Sensory Integration for Children and Adolescents
Mental Health for Children and Youth
Adults With Serious Mental Illnesses
Adults With Neurodegenerative Diseases
Driving and Community Mobility
Adults With Stroke
Adults With Traumatic Brain Injury
Autism Spectrum Disorder
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