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    Mapping Professionalism: a tale of two journeys

    Halliwell, Victoria (2013) Mapping Professionalism: a tale of two journeys. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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    The focus of this research study is occupational therapy students’ perceptions of employability and professionalism. Using some key principles of grounded theory, data was collected through the Ideal ***Inventory (Norton 2001), through a focus group and through seven individual interviews with final year students on a part time BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy degree programme. The thesis maps two journeys, that of the researcher from novice to more experienced and that of the student occupational therapist from recruitment to graduation examining the trajectory of development for both. The thesis focuses on some pertinent methodological issues around researcher distance and creativity in the study; the term used for this is contamination. The work of Charmaz (2006) on constructivist grounded theory and Clarke (2005) on situational mapping in grounded theory have been used to provide reference points in my research to support the researcher’s engagement with data. It is suggested that the research is situated in the borderlands of modernist and postmodern ideas. There is a critique which focuses on theory, its value and purpose in the study and in grounded theory more generally. Analytical tools and the way in which these support understanding of the data are also debated. Relational Situational Maps (Clarke 2005) were used to engage and display data, to show assumptions about relationships between data and to highlight sites of contamination. Mapping the data in this way has assisted in the researcher to see the data differently and to engage with it more interestingly. Consideration is given to the interpretation of meaning in the data analysis, including the labelling of categories and sub- categories and the consequences of this for dissemination. A greater understanding of professionalism for occupational therapy students has been gained by undertaking the study and the importance of role models, authenticity, a prospective professional identity, personal values and the alignment of these to professional ones are discussed. Individual conceptualisations of professionalism alongside external professional regulation are also considered. Recommendations for curriculum development as a result of this study have also been identified.

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