Writing in Kinesiology


by Stefeni Brown, Sacramento State Kinesiology major


Welcome future Kinesiologists!  Have you ever thought there was more than just the usual writing tasks that you expect to do already?  Ever wondered what kinds of writing you will be expected to perform?  Well here is your chance to get a good idea of what you will be faced with, should you choose to continue to major in Kinesiology.




The Expectations of the Kinesiologist

When you, the Kinesiologist, graduate and choose a career that suits you best, you will be required and expected to apply what you have learned during your job searches.  Although you will receive a degree, it is a certification that you have the knowledge to provide care and support to patients with certain needs in your area and in others that are related.  Working in your field will be the ultimate test to apply your knowledge.  Therefore, here are a few generalized statements that you must keep in mind.

1. Understand, evaluate and apply ethical principles (particularly
an ethic of care) in sport and movement contexts.

2. Demonstrate the ability to create, lead or facilitate a variety of
movement activities for a variety of participants.

3. Understand and facilitate the practice of moving with bodily or
kinesthetic awareness.

4. Understand, articulate and apply mechanical principles to the
instruction of safe and efficient movement and the prevention of

5. Understand, articulate and apply anatomical and physiological
principles to the instruction of safe and efficient movement and
the prevention of injury.

6. Understand, articulate and apply the psychological principles
that inform health-supportive and effective movement practices,
including the ―positive coaching of sports.

7. Understand, articulate, experience and apply the basic
principles of health-related fitness.

8. Understand, articulate and analyze the sociological
connections between sport and various societies in the US and
around the world.

9. Understand and articulate the needs of varied populations with
physical and mental challenges, and evaluate and create
modified programs in sport and physical activity.


Kinesiology and Its Areas

Before we get started, let us answer one of the popular questions in our major.  What IS Kinesiology?  Kinesiology is the study of the relationship between the physiological and anatomy of human muscular movement.  In other words, it is the study of the muscles and their movements in the body.  This major is related to dealing with all kinds of sports activities, fitness programs, and health.  Below are a few future careers/majors that you may want to specify in:

Different Areas in Kinesiology:


  Click here to see the major advisor




Therapeutic Exercise and Rehabilitation:  This option provides students with in-depth science-based course work that meets the prerequisite requirements for most Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and other health related professional preparation programs.  Click to see the major advisor


Types of Writing in Kinesiology


Students in Kinesiology will be required to communicate and relay information to other doctors and their patients.  These types of writings include writing abstracts for case study articles, critiquing articles and abstracts, medical notes, and documentation and problem solving.


Case Study Articles

These articles are research based and are divided into sections, which are the abstract, the background/introduction, the purpose, the methods, the results, the discussion, and the conclusion.  Your job will be to read through these articles for understanding and to critique it.  You must also read through the abstract, which is the summary of the purpose, justification, results, discussion, and conclusion, and determine if it is clear and understandable while also pointing out its strengths of what was done well and its weaknesses as to what it lacked and what it needed.  Questions you may ask yourself when you read these articles are, “Is it clear why this research topic was chosen?  Did the authors explain the research that has already been done on which this study is building?  Was there a control group used?  Does the discussion compare results to other comparable studies?  What are the significant statistical findings if there are any?”  Furthermore, you will be required to write an abstract in your own words for a specific article given to you by your instructor or one that you have chosen for a particular assignment.  To put this in simpler terms, the teacher will give you a case study article and he or she may ask you to read through it, critique it, and write your own abstract in your words. 
Click Here to See an Example of a Case Study Article


Documentation and Problem Solving

Documentation and problem solving is an example of writing medical notes.  Documentation is important because the Kinesiologist gains the ability to communicate with his or herself in reflecting how he or she thinks when writing medical notes.  It is also a communication with other therapists and/or trainers, physicians, nurses, social workers, and so on, and gives verification/justification for insurance companies when you have a patient(s) who may need paperwork done for coverage.  When you write good medical notes, the qualities you should have are that they are accurate to the best you can make them to be, precise, thorough, thoughtful and logical, and legible.  The next page is an example of what documentation and problem solving looks like. 



Example Lab Report






An effective method used when writing this medical note is subjective, objective, assessment, and plan (S.O.A.P).  Subjective is information that the patient tells you.  This refers to the person’s age, occupation, and physical activities.  Next, is the patient’s story of what and how he or she got injured, what symptoms they have and their behaviors, medical history, and the areas of pain and pain scales that range from having no pain to extreme pain.  Objective is what the therapist sees, feels, and observes.  The doctor performs tests such as strength, function, sensation, reflex, and range of motion to record the results.  Assessment is the goal setting section, where the doctor gathers the information and lists the short term and long term goals.  Lastly, the plan is where the doctor addresses short and long term goals and problems and writes specific treatment exercises for the patient. 
This version of a medical note is not only a homework assignment given in the classroom, but is also used effectively in the workplace.  From personal experience of seeing a Physical Therapist for a wrist injury, she used this medical note in order to analyze my situation and to provide a plan to rehabilitate me back to perfect health.


Expectations for Masters/Doctorate Graduates


For Those Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees:

Students majoring in the fields of Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Therapeutic Exercise and Rehabilitation have the option to receive their Bachelor’s Degree and search for work, or achieve their teaching credentials if it is included within the major, receive their Bachelor’s Degree and then look for work.  Athletic trainers must complete his or her Bachelor’s Degree option, take and pass the national certification exam to become a National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification (BOC) Certified Athletic Trainer, and begin their area of work.  

Examples of professions Bachelors can career in are:

  1. Athletic Trainer                                              
  2. Physical Education Teacher                           
  3. Coach
  4. Personal Trainer
  5. Strength and Conditioning Coach
  6. Recreational Therapist

Link to More Options


For Those Pursuing Master’s Degrees:

The expectations for the students are individualized because of the different fields that are offered and the students’ various educational goals.  A Master’s Degree’s purpose is to develop a student’s professional growth and involvement, help them to demonstrate the ability to teach within the student’s chosen field, and gain knowledge and skill as a consumer of research.  Link to an Example of Expectations of M.S. Students

Examples of professions Master Degree students can career in are:

  1. Athletic Training
  2. Fitness Advising
  3. Preventive Medicine

Link to More Options


For Those Pursuing Doctorate Degrees:

Students who intend to pursue doctoral study or research careers are expected to develop the ability to plan, conduct, and circulate research.  Doctoral students prepare for careers in higher education; therefore, it is important that they acquire acceptable knowledge and experience in research, teaching, and service. 
Link to an Example of Expectations of Ph.D. Students

Examples of professions Doctorate Degree students can career in are:

  1. College Kinesiology Professor
  2. Fitness Research Scientist
  3. Sports Management Specialist
  4. Any of the areas listed above



The following is paraphrased from an interview with Joan Neide, Department Chair in Kinesiology.

You have to do research projects, lab reports, reflective papers on how you did, advocacy papers, which are projects that support and provide evidence for the field that you’re in as if you’re defending it. You also have to do short essays for exams, and summary papers and/or medical notes of the patient’s injury record.

They are similar writings, but each field has different goals and motivations in their curriculums.  However, the Athletic Trainer does diagnosis, which means they have to review a person’s injury and write up a plan.

The style, which is the word choice and grammar, in the graduate level is different.  Students in the graduate level have to do research and support their topics without inputting their opinion.  There must be sophisticated language and grammar supported by an expert in the field.  APA format is required.  While doing these research papers, investigation must include multiple and correct sources without using the internet.

Be accurate and know your sources.  Avoid the use of “I” unless you are writing a reflective paper.  It is also important that you do more drafts of your papers instead of doing just one.  Most importantly, have correct spelling and grammar!  I cannot stress this enough.

Perfection with the evidence and support with no grammar and spelling errors!

I was a daughter of a P.E. teacher and I danced jazz until I realized I couldn’t dance.  But growing up I enjoyed learning about movement and its history, the history of Asian studies, and the philosophy of sports and physical education.  I am here today with a Doctorate in Administrative Education.

When choosing a career, do it because you want to do it.  You have to have passion for what you do because you will be working in the career you chose everyday for the rest of your life, so choose wisely and do something that is good for you.  When you are in your major, know that it takes work; you must know your craft.  Also, don’t be afraid to explore other areas and take something different and change your major.  You may find out that you want to do something else other than a field in Kinesiology.  Your dreams can come true, but make sure it is really what you want to do.
Link to Joan Neide



Amie T. Brewer, Physical Therapist

1)   What kinds of writing do you have to do in your field?

Most of the writing required in physical therapy is directly in the patient's medical record. We document mainly in a SOAP note fashion. I work in the outpatient and acute care setting; the majority of the writing consist of direct patient care activities but we also have to document our expert opinion of where patient's would be safe to return (ie home, SNF, or other forms of long term care) when working in the acute care setting. 
Other forms of writing are to physician regarding patient's progress with treatment.

2)   Is the writing similar or different for people in Kinesiology that are majoring in different fields? If it is similar, what kinds of writing do people in Kinesiology have to do?

Depending on which area of physical therapy that you want to practice (patient care, research or education) the amount of writing is variable. Many of my professors at UOP did a substantial amount of writing, with getting their research studies published in journals. 

I know that people who were in a different track in Kinesiology, physical education, have other forms of writing, but I believe that many of these people work at schools, PE teachers/adaptive PE. 

3)   What is the difference between doing writing for a Bachelor’s Degree and writing for a Doctorate and Master’s Degree?

Writing in my Doctoral program consisted of many research papers, mostly critiquing current literature more in a literature review style. Whereas, writing at the bachelor level, from what I can remember, didn't consist of much writing at all, mostly we did hands on activities. I believe that the most writing I had was taking cardiopulmonary and writing my exercise prescription for my client. 

4)   What tips/guidelines can you give to students who are going to be doing these kinds of writings?

Be very complete with your writing and to the point, do not include extra information if not necessary. All of the writing I do is apart of someone's medical record and can be use against me with litigation cases. At times we have to appear for subpoena's when someone is recovering from a liability injury, for example car accidents, falls in grocery stores, worker's compensation. The written documentation is proof of what I did with the patient, we don't go off of memory we go off of what is written in the chart (this is for the protection of the patient and the therapist). 

5)   Describe the writing expectations at the graduate level. 

Writing at the graduate level is expected to be complete, grammatically correct, articulate and not too wordy but to the point. When writing papers for school the expectation was that the student backs up their statements by referencing the literature. In our profession there is a big move to evidenced based practice, meaning, do treatments that have been validated to show progress through research. Often the writing required in my program reflected some treatment that we did with a patient or a research paper. The writings that involved patient treatments compared the results of some procedure/treatment that we performed on a patient with other forms of research, similar to a comparative study. We did have one massive research paper in the program were we learned all the different aspects of research, and had to write a "literature review" that critiqued and critically analyzed the research studies. 

6)   Choosing what field to major in can be confusing since all areas of Kinesiology are related. How did you choose which route to take to get to where you are in your career?

Well I think that this question is an obvious choice for me, I knew I wanted to become a physical therapist so I choose the pre-physical therapy track. I think there is some benefit in exercise science but the pre-physical therapy track incorporated the requirement for physical therapy school, making it the better track.

7) Is there any advice/comments you would like to give to future students in Kinesiology? 

Study hard, practice on many different bodies, use whatever method works for you (flashcards, drawing out muscles/nerves) In this profession you have to be willing to work with all types of people so if you are not a people person this may not be the career choice for you. 



The following are common terms known in Kinesiology.  Some are used more than others, while some are used rarely at all.  These terms are from the Human Anatomy textbook and Kinesiology courses.


of the body                                                                              synovial joint

that attach one bone to another

anterior surface with the palms facing forward

and pelvic girdles of the upper and lower limbs
and the trunk

column, and the thoracic cage (ribs)

single dendrite                                                                        moves

ligaments or joint capsule     

on for a long period of time

result of an injury

beyond its normal limits                                                         an action





Other sources on careers in Kinesiology:


Works Cited











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