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OCAT: Occupational Therapy Assisting: Journals and Research Databases

Search Strategies for Occupational Therapy Research

REMEMBER: Occupational Therapy is a specialized component of the Allied Health Services. When searching a general Health database ALWAYS add the term Occupational Therapy to your search terms to narrow your results to articles that focus on Occupational Therapy. 

Instead of a Basic (one line) search select Advanced search and place your search term in the first tier search box and type Occupational Therapy in the second tier box.

Quick Research Tips

Be Smart and Save Time!

Do not use sentences to search for information. Try using keywords and phrases.

Before you search a research database, think about alternative search terms (e.g. adolescents, youth, and young adults).

Keep notes on the research databases and the keywords you have used.

Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).

Quotes are helpful when your search terms include a phrase (e.g. "occupational therapy").

Scholarly and Trade Journals - the basics

Articles represent the most current information published in a field of study. Most academic professionals and researchers prefer articles that are "scholarly" in nature.

Characteristics of scholarly journals include the following qualities:

  • The articles contain original research such as scientific experiments, surveys and research studies.
  • An editorial board, composed of experts in the field, reviews the articles to determine whether they should be accepted for publication. This is also known as "peer-reviewed," "professional," or "academic."
  • A list of references or sources is provided at the end of each article.
  • The use of specialized vocabulary by discipline is expected.
  • Publications contain few, if any, advertisements.

Trade journals are intended for practitioners in the industry. They include scientific and technical articles, but most are not peer-reviewed.
For more information on this topic go to "What are 'scholarly', 'professional', and 'popular' articles", an information sheet authored by KSU University Libraries.

Research Databases

These resources provide scholarly and professional articles and news information.

Academic Search Complete

Provides full text for more than 4,000 scholarly publications covering academic areas of study including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies. An Ebsco Database including Medical Databases that can be added to the initial Academic Search Complete Search Strategies


An Ebsco Database, CINAHL provides access to nursing and allied health literature and information, including such disciplines as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, consumer health, alternative therapies, and health sciences librarianship.

Health Source (Nursing/Academic edition)

An Ebsco Database providing nearly 590 scholarly full text journals focusing on many medical disciplines. Also featured are abstracts and indexing for over 627 journals.

The Cochrane Library

The Cochrane Library is a collection of six databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.


An Ebsco Database: An International index for medical literature, produced by the National Library of Medicine. Addresses all aspects of medicine and health care and offers citations from nearly 4,000 journals, books and book chapters, research and other sources. Includes citations originally found in the print indexes that date from 1950-1965.


PubMed provides free, worldwide access to MEDLINE. Accessing PubMed through this URL will provide links to online, full-text articles available through Kent State University Libraries.

OhioLink Electronic Journal Center (EJC)

Full text articles covering multiple subject areas.


Scholarly resources on JSTOR include Archival and Current Journals, Books, and Primary Sources.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

Did You Know?

To find the entire text of an article look for the button. Clicking on it will automatically generate a search for the entire article in other library resources such as the OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center and LexisNexis Academic. 

Academic OT Journals


  • AJOT:  Available through Ebsco Open Access from 1980 to 2013. Available in print at Ashtabula (2007-2018), East Liverpool (2012-2018) and Stark Campuses (1970-2018). Many of these are available for loan. Also, Available to request through KentLink "Off-Site Storage" (1980-2005). Access to more recent issues may be available if you are a member of aota.
  • OT Practice:  Available only in print at Ashtabula (2007-Current) and East Liverpool Campuses (2017-2020). Many of these are available for loan.
  • Occupational Therapy International (2001 - current year): Healthcare journal covering a variety of occupational therapy topics. AVAILABLE in Academic Search Complete and CINAHL.
  • OTJR Occupation, Participation & Health (2002 - current year): Available in the OhioLink Electronic Journal Center (EJC). Published by the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. OTJR provides original and interdisciplinary research articles for the occupation. Current issues are available in print at the Ashtabula Campus Library. If viewing the articles online, expect a 12 month full text delay due to publisher embargo restrictions.
  • Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics (2001 - 18 months ago): Available in CINAHL. Provides articles on clinical research and therapeutic practice in geriatrics.
  • Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics (2001-18 months ago): Available in Medline Complete. Designed for OT pediatric professionals working in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, and health and human services agencies. Emphasis on therapy practice and clinical research.