The prioritized research agenda for the athletic training profession: A report from the Strategic Alliance Research Agenda Task Force

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Journal of Athletic Training


Context: Athletic trainers (ATs) must be equipped with evidence to inform their clinical practice. A systematic, inclusive, and continuous process for exploring research priorities is vital to the success of ATs and, more importantly, their patients’ positive outcomes. Objective: To identify research priorities and unify research with clinical practice to improve patient care and advance the profession. Design: Mixed-methods study. Setting: Focus groups and a Web-based survey. Patients or Other Participants: A total of 87 ATs (43 men [49.4%], 44 women [50.6%]; age ¼ 40 6 11 years; experience ¼ 18 6 11 years) participated in focus groups. Of the 49 332 emails sent, 580 were undeliverable, 5131 ATs started the survey (access rate ¼ 10.5%), and 4514 agreed to participate (response rate ¼ 9.3%). Main Outcome Measure(s): Our study consisted of 6 focus-group sessions, a content-expert review, and a Web-based survey. Themes from the focus groups were used to develop the research priorities and survey instrument. We used the 25-item validated survey to determine whether the research priorities and findings of the focus groups were generalizable. Endorsement of research priorities and recommendations was achieved when respondents indicated they agreed or strongly agreed. Results: Respondents endorsed 5 research priorities: health care competency (n ¼ 4438/4493, 98.8%), vitality of the profession (n ¼ 4319/4455, 96.9%), health professions education (n ¼ 3966/4419, 89.8%), health care economics (n ¼ 4246/ 4425, 96.0%), and health information technology (n ¼ 3893/ 4438, 87.7%). We also made the following recommendations: (1) develop funding initiatives that align with the agenda, (2) develop postdoctoral fellowships focused on clinical research, (3) facilitate collaborative relationships between clinicians and researchers, and (4) make research evidence more readily available and more applicable. Conclusions: Using a systematic and inclusive process, we developed a prioritized research agenda for the athletic training profession. The agenda was endorsed by the leaders of each Strategic Alliance organization and adopted as the Athletic Training Research Agenda.

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