#OTalk Research 5th January 2020

Research Impact Assessment: why, how and who?

This #OTalk will be led by Dr Jenny Preston, Consultant Occupational Therapist @preston_jenny with @NikkiDanielsOT on the @OTalk_ account.

During the @theRCOT 2020 Elizabeth Casson Memorial Lecture I challenged the occupational therapy profession to consider the role, purpose and current practice in relation to research impact assessment. This #OTalk Research chat aims to continue this conversation in an attempt to more fully understand the current landscape in relation to occupational therapy research while also providing an opportunity to share learning about the variety of methods that are currently being used to translate new knowledge into policy and practice.

Research impact assessment in itself is recognised as a new field of scientific endeavour (Milat et al, 2015) and the occupational therapy profession needs to consider its contribution to this complex and growing field of enquiry (Greenhalgh et al, 2016). During this #OTalk we will discuss the current evidence for research impact assessment and the associated challenges in demonstrating how research investment leads to improvements in policy, practice, resource allocation and ultimately the health and well-being of the community (Milat et al, 2015). We will seek to identify which conceptual frameworks are currently being used to describe and understand the impact of occupational therapy research.

Additionally we will explore why research impact assessment is important to the occupational therapy profession by understanding how we are currently describing, measuring and communicating research impact. Through the discussion we will begin to explore the dimensions of benefit to inform future work on the development of indicators and metrics (Banzi et al, 2011) while seeking to develop a more common understanding of terminology. Evidence of how occupational therapy researchers are engaging with all stakeholders and partners in the assessment of impact will also be considered.

Finally we will seek to share experiences of how occupational therapy researchers are developing and articulating evidence that facilitates a quicker return on investment by supporting the profession to select the most effective and cost effective interventions so that quality and appropriateness can be maximised (Banzi et al, 2011).

In preparation for this #OTalk Research you may wish to consider the following questions which will be discussed on the night:

  1. Do you have any experience of research impact assessment?
  2. How do you build assessment of research impact into your research proposal?
  3. Which models of impact assessment are you currently using?
  4. What are the key dimensions of benefit when describing, measuring and articulating research impact?
  5. Who should determine the impact of research?

Banzi R, Moja L, Pistotti V, Facchini A, Liberati A (2011) Conceptual frameworks and empirical approaches used to assess the impact of health research: an overview of reviews. Health Research Policy and Systems, 9:26, 1-10

Greenhalgh T, Raftery J, Hanney S, Glover M, (2016) Research impact: a narrative review. BMC Medicine 14:78 DOI 10.1186/s12916-016-0620-8

Milat AJ, Bauman AE and Redman S (2015) A narrative review of research impact assessment models and methods. Health Research Policy and Systems, 13:18, 1-7

Post Chat

The Numbers

962.848K Impressions
272 Tweets
74 Participants
11 Avg Tweets/Hour
4 Avg Tweets/Participant


#OTalk 8th December 2020 – Is there a role for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in occupational therapy practice?

This weeks chat will be hosted by Abigail Matthews @Abi21643842

I have recently started to learn about the role of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in supporting individuals with severe and enduring mental health needs, through an occupational lens. This therapy teaches that people should focus on what they can control and make actions towards values which create a meaningful life. ACT is a mindfulness-based behavioural therapy that encourages clients to expand their lives alongside the existence of inevitable pain and suffering (Harris, 2011). His renowned self-help book the happiness trap (2011, b) prioritises acceptance and personal development over symptom reduction. If one is focused on improving the present moment, there is recognition of the world of opportunities outside our own self-critical thoughts and current difficulties. We are more than the sum of our past experiences, thoughts and feelings (Harris, 2011). The 21st century is full of complexity and life stressors (eg. work, politics and healthcare) which can ultimately negatively impact mental health and well-being, if we do not embrace contentment and meaning in everyday life (Harris, 2011).  If we solely focus on solving problems we will never achieve happiness. In a similar way, Behavioural activation helps alleviate depression through planning pleasurable activities based on what we are motivated to change (Ekers et al, 2014). It teaches us that we are able to control our mood through our behaviour. This approach is often used by Occupational therapists to create change based on the occupations that we both want and need to do in order to live a fulfilling life. To maintain health and well-being, Occupational Therapy helps people to develop a sense of being, becoming and belonging through engagement in everyday life (Wilcock, 1998). In a similar way to ACT, solution focused brief therapy also focuses on achieving happiness by exploring solutions rather than trying to resolve indicators of poor health (Nicholas and Schwartz, 1998). These psychological approaches appear to hold a common focus in identifying action aligned with personal values. It could be argued that as Occupational Therapist we are already following a values based approach, given that client centred prioritises what’s important to the client (Townsend et al, 1990). It is through expanding our occupations of interest (self-care, leisure and productivity) that we can maintain our mental health and well-being (CAOT, 2002). This OTalk will explore these psychological approaches further and consider their place in OT practice.


What do you feel is the role of ACT in your setting and working with specific population needs?

What OT tools and strategies could you use to embed an ACT perspective in your practice?

How well do you as occupational therapist embrace a values based approach in your practice?

What have you taken from today that will support you in your OT role?


Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT, 2002). Enabling occupation: an occupational therapy perspective. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists.

Harris, R. (2011a). Embracing your demons: An overview of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Psychotherapy. Retrieved from https://www.psychotherapy.net/article/Acceptance-and-Commitment-Therapy-ACT#section-the-goal-of-act

Harris, R., (2011b). The happiness trap. ReadHowYouWant. com.

Nichols, M. and Schwartz, R., 1998. From strategic to solution focused: The evolution of brief therapy. M. Nichols & R. Schwartz, Family therapy: Concepts and methods, pp.355-396.

Townsend, E., Brintnell, S., Staisey, N. (1990). Developing guidelines for client-centred occupational therapy practice. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57, 69–76.

Wilcock, A. (1998). An occupational perspective of health. Thorofare, NJ: Slack.


The Numbers

476.254K Impressions
107 Tweets
27 Participants
4 Avg Tweets/Hour
4 Avg Tweets/Participant