In this AMTA-Pro podcast, speakers Dr. Annie Heiderscheit, Dr. Nancy Jackson, and Dr. Kathy Murphy review the steps necessary for creating a preliminary plan for a clinical research study, including, among other things, (1) exploring clinical interests and looking at different perspectives, (2) determining feasibility, partnerships, collaborators, funding, and logistics of a clinical research project, (3) conducting the literature review, and (4) choosing the appropriate research design for the research question. Based on their own rich experiences in clinical work and in research, the podcast speakers provide examples and insight into navigating the challenges of conducting clinical-based research as well as strategies for overcoming these challenges. In this overview of an interactive session presented at the 2017 AMTA conference, the AMTA-Pro podcast speakers provide the groundwork for podcast listeners to begin the process of planning their own clinical research study.


Conducting Clinical Research: A Guide Through the Research Process

AMTA-Pro Podcast in July, 2018

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Annie Heiderscheit, Ph.D., MT-BC, LMFT

Nancy A. Jackson, PhD, MT-BC

Kathleen M. Murphy, PhD, MT-BC

This AMTA-Pro podcast is based on a workshop offering a primer for music therapy clinicians who want to conduct clinical research. The podcast gives listeners a review of the steps necessary for creating a preliminary plan for a research study they want to execute.

The presenters begin by helping podcast listeners identify their clinical interest through observations and identified client needs within their clinical practice. After defining their clinical area of interest, listeners explore how to identify and determine what research has been done through literature review and how integrate this evidence.

Presenters then provide an overview of the step-by-step process of getting organized for a research study. (1) Formulating the research question. (2) Determining the appropriate research methodology. (3) Exploring the challenges and feasibility of implementing the study in the clinical environment. (4) Exploring possible solutions to challenges that may be encountered in the clinical environment. (5) Identifying and contacting potential collaborators or mentors to provide the necessary support needed to execute the study. (6) Identifying, accessing, and obtaining resources needed to conduct clinically based research.

The AMTA-Pro podcast continues as, based on their own extensive clinical and research experiences, Dr. Heiderscheit, Dr. Jackson, and Dr. Murphy provide examples and insight  into navigating the challenges of conducting clinical based research as well as strategies for overcoming these challenges.

Resources for reviewing literature

Galvan, J. L., & Galvan, M. C. (2017). Writing literature reviews: A guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences (7thed.). New York, NY: Routledge

Pyrczak, F. (2014). Evaluating Research in Academic Journals: A practical guide to realistic evaluation (6th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge

About the AMTA-Pro podcast speakers

Annie Heiderscheit, Ph.D., MT-BC, LMFT, (right in photo) is the Director of Music Therapy and Associate Professor of Music, overseeing both the undergraduate and graduate music therapy programs at Augsburg University. She has nearly 20 years of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate courses and almost 30 years of experience in a variety of healthcare and clinical settings. She has conducted research with clients dealing with a variety of complex mental health and medical issues. The interdisciplinary research team with which she collaborates with had their research investigating a patient directed music intervention with mechanically ventilated patients. Dr. Heiderscheit is Chair of the Publications Commission for the World Federation of Music Therapy and the Vice President of Communication with the International Association of Music and Medicine.

Nancy A. Jackson, PhD, MT-BC, (center in photo) is a board certified music therapist with more than 25 years of clinical experience in areas including music psychotherapy and medical music therapy for both groups and individuals. She has worked as a staff music therapist for a state in-patient psychiatric facility, for various other hospitals, facilities and schools, and in private practice. She received her undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and her Master’s in Music Therapy and Doctor of Philosophy in Music Therapy degrees from Temple University. Dr. Jackson frequently presents for workshops and conferences across the country and around the world. She has been published in the Arts in Psychotherapy, the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives, and the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, has several published book chapters, and has been included in the proceedings of several international conferences. Her co-authored book, Introduction to Music Therapy Practice, will be available in July, 2018.

Kathleen M. Murphy, PhD, MT-BC, (left in photo) is the Coordinator of Music Therapy at Loyola University-New Orleans. She is an active clinician, supervisor, and researcher with over 36 years of clinical experience. Dr. Murphy has authored book chapters and journal articles. Additionally, she has presented nationally and internationally on a variety of topics related to music therapy clinical practice and issues related to education and professional well-being. Dr. Murphy’s research interests are focused on music therapy in substance dependence across the lifespan and in short-term mental health treatment. Dr. Murphy is a member of the American Music Therapy Association where she has served in leadership positions on the state, regional and national levels.