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Conducting Quantitative Medical Education Research: From Design to Dissemination

Published:November 05, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2017.10.008

      Abstract

      Rigorous medical education research is critical to effectively develop and evaluate the training we provide our learners. Yet many clinical medical educators lack the training and skills needed to conduct high-quality medical education research. We offer guidance on conducting sound quantitative medical education research. Our aim is to equip readers with the key skills and strategies necessary to conduct successful research projects, highlighting new concepts and controversies in the field. We utilize Glassick's criteria for scholarship as a framework to discuss strategies to ensure that the research question of interest is worthy of further study and how to use existing literature and conceptual frameworks to strengthen a research study. Through discussions of the strengths and limitations of commonly used study designs, we expose the reader to particular nuances of these decisions in medical education research and discuss outcomes generally focused on, as well as strategies for determining the significance of consequent findings. We conclude with information on critiquing research findings and preparing results for dissemination to a broad audience. Practical planning worksheets and comprehensive tables illustrating key concepts are provided in order to guide researchers through each step of the process. Medical education research provides wonderful opportunities to improve how we teach our learners, to satisfy our own intellectual curiosity, and ultimately to enhance the care provided to patients.

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