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Clinical Therapy Data as Learning Process: The First Year of Clinical Training and Beyond

Epstein, Laura PhD, CCC-SLP

doi: 10.1097/

Qualitative methods were used to investigate the processes of data collection by 7 speech–language pathology students in their first or second semester of clinical training, through weekly open-ended interviews in which clinical therapy data were discussed. Students also wrote in journals and shared data sheets. Findings indicated that data collection resulted from a complex interaction of reflection and practice through which 8 strategies or processes of data collection were constructed by the students. These processes included (1) perceived insufficiency of assessment data; (2) triage of therapy goals; (3) focus on pertinent information; (4) closing circles of data; (5) triangulation; (6) experiencing uncertainty; (7) creating readability; and (8) integration of client perspective. Considered in total, these processes clearly convey the students actively constructing meaning from clinical data and integrating their data with theory, setting the stage for collaborative relationships with clinical supervisors and clients.

From the Communicative Disorders Program, San Francisco State University, Calif.

Corresponding author: Laura Epstein, PhD, CCC-SLP, Communicative Disorders Program, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave, Burk Hall 102, CA 94132 (e-mail:

I thank the following students, without whom this article could never have been written: Marie Brown, Kristi Dommen, Patricia Gomez, Amy Heller, Priya Sembi, Mega Smith, Sin-Yee Tan, Tamara Weintraub, Goldie Wong, Alexia Wooley, and Amy Yahn. And, I also thank David Ofman, who has helped me every step of the way. This work was supported in part by a Faculty Development Grant from the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development at San Francisco State University, whom I also thank.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins