ShiftOut() Noob alert V2

I am on a quest to further understand the shiftout() function as is used in the LEDControl Library. Although I think I understand it pretty well, it is something that I would like to understand completely before moving on to new things.

What I would like to be able to do is to loop back the output and monitor it through the serial monitor. (Strictly as an exercise)

One of my assumptions on shift out is that the clock pin is an Arduino output so the clock is controlled by the Arduino as is the latch pin. I looked at shiftin to read the output from shiftout back in to the arduino and found that for shiftin, the clockpin is an arduino output as well so this seems to negate hooking up 3 pins with shift out back in to 3 pins with shift in.

Before rambling on any further, what would be the best method to read in the data being sent out by shiftout() and pipe it to the serial monitor. I dont think I will need all of the code etc. just a push in the right direction conceptually.

Thanks in advance for any assistance. Being able to accomplish this will go a long way for me to internalize the shiftout() functionality.