Using Vignettes to Change Music Therapists’ Attitudes Toward Research

Adrienne Flight, PhD, MT-BC
Image of music therapist Adrienne Flight

This presentation will provide the opportunity for listeners to reflect on their own relationships and attitudes toward research and present them with new information about changing attitudes toward research. Listeners will hear about the study’s design, relevance of the topic, steps followed, learn about the findings, and have a discussion about the implications. The findings of the study revealed that reading a vignette about the negative outcomes of not engaging with research to inform one’s clinical work led to greater increases in perceptions of research usefulness. However, reading a research summary led to greater decreases in anxiety about research. Findings also revealed important information about the roles of years in the field and levels of education, underscoring the importance of these considerations.

It is challenging to begin to understand how to promote positive attitudes toward a broad scope of evidence in music therapy. And yet, dialogue about how to begin to attempt this is critical to the advancement of the field. Each music therapist receives information about the role of research from current feelings toward it, from their peers, the organization or system in which they work, and their broader environment. This study’s findings work to contribute to dialogue and to foster a culture where engagement with research is commonplace for music therapists in everyday practice.

This topic is relevant for classrooms, continuing education courses, and the overall field of music therapy. Findings of this study shed light on the importance of adapting to different levels of education and different years of experience in the field. The implications of these findings stretch to music therapists around the world, all of whom would benefit from reflecting on own their attitudes, hearing about how these findings might impact their own relationships and engagement with research, and provide novel ideas about how to foster positive attitudes toward research among supervisees. Differing training models, ways of practicing, and research in different cultures around the world leave space for these research findings to be part of new dialogue and sharing of ideas. This research provides a springboard for conversation, introspection, and reflection without prescribing a specific way to foster positive attitudes that might not fit within a given culture.

Learner Objectives

II.D.2.b: Consider the following in the treatment decision-making process: research evidence of the effectiveness of the intervention.

V.A.1. Assess areas for professional growth, prioritize, and establish plan of action.

V.A.2: Integrate current research and literature into music therapy and related disciplines.

V.B.11. Examine one’s own assumptions, values, and biases.

Presenter Biography

Adrienne Flight, PhD, MT-BC is an Assistant Professor of Music Therapy at Berklee College of Music. Her research focuses on attitudes toward research and closing the research-practice gap.

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