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Making a difference: researching master's and doctoral research programmes in medical education

Pugsley, Lesley, Brigley, Stephen, Allery, Lynne ORCID: and MacDonald, Janet 2008. Making a difference: researching master's and doctoral research programmes in medical education. Medical Education 42 (2) , pp. 157-163. 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2007.02932.x

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CONTEXT The Association for the Study of Medical Education states that its aim is to improve the quality of medical education. As a consequence, it commissioned through its Education Research Group a small-scale project to explore the quality of the research methods elements in currently available UK master�s and doctoral programmes. OBJECTIVE This study aimed to explore the breadth, depth and diversity of the research methods provision of those programmes currently available to course participants. METHODS The study comprised a 3-phase approach which utilised: a web-based search of curricula format and content; semi-structured interviews with key informants, and case studies and site visits to conduct documentary analysis of dissertations and in-depth interviews with core personnel. RESULTS The study revealed wide variation across taught programmes. These discrepancies applied to length of course, requirements for the dissertation in terms of both length and time allowed to complete the study and, crucially, a wide variance in the quality and quantity of the levels of supervision provided for students during this research phase. DISCUSSION This study raises concerns about the aims and functions of courses offering qualifications in medical education. It identifies a number of obstacles to the development of educational researchers who are skilled in the philosophical underpinnings of research activity or equipped to undertake educational research that is of a quality sufficient to withstand the scrutiny of the authors� scientific and clinical counterparts. We argue that if research into medical education is to thrive, it requires the full commitment of all those who are engaged in teaching the topic and supporting researchers.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: education, medical, graduate; *research, biomedical; teaching ⁄ *methods; curriculum; multicentre study [publication type]; attitude of health personnel.
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0308-0110
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 14:21

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