Promising and Established Investigators' Experiences Participating in the National Athletic Trainers' Association Foundation Research Mentor Program

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Context:  Mentorship is a helpful resource for individuals who transition from doctoral student to tenure-track faculty member. The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Research & Education Foundation offers a Research Mentor Program to provide mentorship to promising investigators, particularly as they work to establish independent lines of research.

Objective:  To gain the perspectives of promising and established investigators on their participation in the NATA Foundation Research Mentor Program.

Design:  Qualitative, phenomenological research.

Setting:  Higher education institutions.

Patients or Other Participants:  Seven promising investigators (5 women, 2 men) and 7 established investigators (2 women, 5 men), all of whom had completed the NATA Foundation Research Mentor Program.

Data Collection and Analysis We developed and piloted intervi: ew guides designed to gain participants' perspectives on their experiences participating in the NATA Foundation Research Mentor Program. Semistructured telephone interviews were completed with each individual and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed using a phenomenological approach, and saturation was obtained. Trustworthiness was established with the use of member checking, multiple-analyst triangulation, and data-source triangulation.

Results:  Three themes emerged from the interviews: (1) motivation, (2) collaboration, and (3) resources. Participants were motivated to become involved because they saw the value of mentorship, and mentees desired guidance in their research. Participants believed that collaboration on a project contributed to a positive relationship, and they also desired additional program and professional resources to support novice faculty.

Conclusions:  Promising and established investigators should be encouraged to engage in mentoring relationships to facilitate mentees' research agendas and professional development. The NATA Foundation and athletic training profession may consider providing additional resources for novice faculty, such as training on effective mentoring; grant writing and other research-related tasks; and support for broader faculty responsibilities, such as teaching, service, and work-life balance.


This article was originally published in Journal of Athletic Training, volume 52, issue 4, in 2017. DOI: 10.4085/1062-6050-52.2.11

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National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Inc