Deborah Davys, Jacqui McKenna, Ellen Tickle
International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, Vol. 15, Iss. 6, 04 Jun 2008, pp 245 - 253

Aims: Peer observation of practice is used to promote reflection and facilitate personal and professional development. However, there appears to be no published research on the use of peer observation by occupational therapists working in higher education. This action research project explored the perceptions of occupational therapy staff within a higher education setting towards the use of a peer observation of practice scheme. Methods: All colleagues within a directorate of occupational therapy were invited to complete a questionnaire. Additionally, five staff were invited to take part in semi-structured interviews and core themes were identified following thematic analysis, typified by grounded theory. Findings: Staff used a range of methods to support professional development, including peer observation. Key themes identified were the concept that peer observation has both positive and negative connotations, that feedback must be carefully managed, that the relationship between observed and observer is important and that staff want clear ground rules for peer observation schemes. Conclusions: Findings indicated the need for further research into peer observation and how such a scheme could be formally implemented.

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