An Interactional Analysis of Experienced and Inexperienced Athletic Trainers' Behavior In Clinical Instruction Settings

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Performance and Recreation

First Advisor

Sandra K. Gangstead

Advisor Department

Human Performance and Recreation


The triad of allied health clinical instruction includes the instructor, student and patient. The clinical instructor, the student athletic trainer, and the athlete create this dynamic learning environment in the education of athletic trainers. The goals of this study were to further develop and modify the Clinical Instructor Analysis Tool - Athletic Training (CIAT-AT) (Gardner, 1995), to observe identify interactional behaviors in athletic training clinical instruction and to compare these behaviors based on experiential level of clinical instructors. Video and audio recordings of clinical instruction were made at five CAAHEP accredited or NATA approved athletic training education programs. A total of thirty clinical instructors were recorded. Ten clinical instructors from the novice, intermediate and advanced experience groups were studied. An interval recording method was used to document behaviors with the Clinical Instructor Assessment Tool - Athletic Training II (CIAT-AT II). The data indicated that intermediate and advanced clinical instruction included three times more interactions initiated by the student athletic trainer. The second finding supported that increased clinical instructor experience allowed more screening and evaluative techniques accomplished by the student athletic trainer. Thirdly, this study revealed that the use of skill feedback for all clinical instructors is a small proportion of total interactions. Finally, direct teaching styles are more common than indirect teaching styles in athletic training clinical instruction. Conclusions can be made from this study that experiential level does influence interactional behaviors in clinical instruction. Specifically, those behaviors which lead to psychomotor refinement of evaluation skills by the student athletic trainer. The low proportion of skill feedback needs to be further addressed in professional preparation of clinical instructors. The direct nature of clinical instruction teaching style supports Gardner's (1995) earlier work.