Why should I participate in student research program?
Participating in the student research program within the Athletic Training Education Program will encourage the development of research skills needed for future graduate studies and/or professional positions in athletic training. Students participating in applied clinical research will develop effective critical thinking and problem solving skills that are needed to be competent and successful athletic training professionals and will be optimally positioned for career success.
Evidence-base medicine, where clinical judgments should be based on the best available research, is a concept that is emphasized in the practice of athletic training. It is necessary that athletic training professionals practice this concept for continued development of the profession and to gain scientific support for athletic training methods. Practicing evidenced based medicine requires clinicians to find the evidence and analyze the quality of that evidence provided in the scientific literature. This process involves:
- defining clinically relevant questions
- searching for the best evidence
- critically appraising the evidence
- applying the evidence, and
- critical thinking to evaluate the process.
These necessary skills of interpretation and application of scientific findings will be learned and reinforced through the experiences in the undergraduate research program, allowing students to practice evidence-based medicine as professionals. The main purpose is to educate athletic training students giving them the tools to continue to learn, be successful in the profession, and continue to contribute to the development of the profession.
Undergraduate students will have the greatest benefit from the undergraduate research program as it is an educational opportunity with a focus on academic growth. For most students in athletic training, hands-on experiences provide the best learning tools (Mensch and Ennis 2002) which will be the emphasis of the undergraduate research experience. The mentoring process provides the student with the ability to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to real-world questions. In most cases, engaging in the undergraduate research is an introduction to research for the student. However, the potential to make significant contributions to the mentors’ ongoing work and possibly becoming co-authors of articles in the refereed literature will be encouraged. Students will become members of the community of researchers and scholars as they collaborate with faculty and graduate mentors.
Through the structure and approach of the student research program, additional benefits to the student include:
- increased student interest in the discipline
- readiness for more demanding research and professional careers in athletic training
- clarification, confirmation, and refinement career/education paths
- increased research and lab techniques
- collaborative work that increases communication and leadership skills
- gain of critical thinking and problem solving skills
- increased application of knowledge and interpretation of literature
- increased understanding of the research process
- increased self-confidence and self-esteem
- transition from a passive learner to an active learner
- increased independence in decision making and responsibility
- development of a working relationship with mentors and peers
- discovering the link between theory and practice
- increased tolerance for frustrations and development of strategies to overcome obstacles
- ultimately prepare students for future careers as athletic training professionals
How do I get involved in the student research program?
Students interested in participating in the student research program should contact any faculty member in the Department of Athletic Training to discuss potential research opportunities.