Develop a Research Club at your School: 5 Ways to Get Started

Student-driven clubs provide meaningful supplementation to the educational process. Everywhere we turn recently, we are called to participate in and educate ourselves on the research happening in our field.

Give your students a distinct advantage: introduce them to the scientific method and research literacy, engage their curiosity about the efficacy of their work, and encourage their participation in massage research by developing a student-driven club at your school. Student-driven clubs promote professionalism, help with student retention, give students a sense of ownership over their education and can be a distinguishing feature during the admissions process.

5 ways to get started:

  1. Launch at the “right time.”  Take a look at your program and choose the appropriate moment to pitch the club. Often in the first few weeks of a program, students settle into a schedule. Make them aware of club meeting dates and times so they can arrange their schedules to fit in extracurricular activities. Additionally, choose meeting periods during which students are able to stick a round after class or can come early to school. Know your student body and their interests to determine both the frequency and duration of the meetings.

  2. Get the word out. Announce the meeting dates, times and topics in the classroom; assign a bulletin board dedicated to the club; use social media to advertise the club and keep the energy going between meetings; invite a guest speaker and never underestimate the power of word of mouth.

  3. Structure. Develop a structure that will work for both your staff and your student body. Assign a staff advisor, a club president and other officers to help promote and organize the club.

  4. Build community. Create partnerships with local colleges, hospitals and medical libraries.  Work with local charities to set up research projects for the club. Bring researchers to the school to talk about what they do and inspire the students to continue on their path.

  5. Topics. Discover and uncover topics of interest to your students and your community. Look at what is currently being researched. Look for what is missing in massage research. Finally, challenge your club to develop new research projects!

We are educating the next generation of massage therapists and have the opportunity to empower them with a voice in our profession by effectively participating in research. These five tips will help you start a thriving and productive research club at your school.

» More about the Teachers Track at the AMTA 2012 National Convention and Beth McNeill's session “How to Start a Massage Research Club at Your School.

"It's nice to know that I am part of an organization that is backing me 100 percent."

Kristie W., AMTA member since 2011