A Report From the Athletic Training Clinical Education Network on Scholarship Requirements in Professional Athletic Training Programs

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Publication Date




Publication Title

Athletic Training Education Journal








Context: Scholarship is a required element of the 2020 curricular content standards in professional athletic training education.

Objective: To explore the perceptions and experiences of implementing student scholarship within a professional program.

Design: Consensual qualitative research.

Setting: Individual phone interview.

Patients or Other Participants: Seventeen program directors of professional programs (professional bachelor's program=12, 70.6%; professional master's program=3, 17.6%; both=2, 11.8%). Programs reported an average of 3 6 1 core faculty (range, 1-5 faculty) supporting 37 6 21 students (range, 3-96 students), with 3 6 2 faculty (range, 1-8 faculty) involved in scholarship activities of their students. Data saturation guided the number of participants.

Data Collection and Analysis: Interviews occurred via phone using a semistructured interview guide. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed by a 3-person research team and coded into themes and categories based on a consensus process. Credibility was established by utilizing multiple researchers, an external auditor, and member checks.

Results: Two major themes emerged from the data: perceptions and mechanisms of scholarship. Student engagement in scholarship was perceived as valuable, but it was challenging to develop buy-in from students and preceptors. Participants felt that the term research carried a stigma, making it difficult to cultivate the value of scholarly clinical practice. When institutional culture embraced scholarship, participants indicated it was easier to integrate scholarly activities into the program. Participants reported students engaged in a variety of scholarly activities, including traditional research and evidence-based practice. Some scholarship experiences were singular, occurring once in the curriculum, while others were purposeful, sequenced, and integrated throughout the curriculum. Future scholarship endeavors included traditional theses and experimental research as well as practice-based, point-of-care research that might better integrate clinical practice and scholarship.

Conclusions: Participants perceived scholarship as important to professional preparation and required intentional action to integrate throughout the curriculum.


© National Athletic Trainers' Association

Link included with the kind written permission of the publisher.


0000-0003-3171-9141 (Cavallario)

Original Publication Citation

Eberman, L. E., Walker, S. E., Cavallario, J., & Bacon, C. E. W. (2020). A report from the Athletic Training Clinical Education Network on scholarship requirements in professional athletic training programs. Athletic Training Education Journal, 15(1), 55-64. https://doi.org/10.4085/150119053