Enhancing Educational Scholarship Through Conceptual Frameworks: A Challenge and Roadmap for Medical Educators

Published:August 20, 2018DOI:


      Historically, health sciences education has been guided by tradition and teacher preferences rather than by the application of practices supported by rigorous evidence of effectiveness. Although often underutilized, conceptual frameworks—theories that describe the complexities of educational and social phenomenon—are essential foundations for scholarly work in education. Conceptual frameworks provide a lens through which educators can develop research questions, design research studies and educational interventions, assess outcomes, and evaluate the impact of their work. Given this vital role, conceptual frameworks should be considered at the onset of an educational initiative. Use of different conceptual frameworks to address the same topic in medical education may provide distinctive approaches. Exploration of educational issues by employing differing, theory-based approaches advances the field through the identification of the most effective educational methods. Dissemination of sound educational research based on theory is similarly essential to spark future innovation. Ultimately, this rigorous approach to medical education scholarship is necessary to allow us to establish how our educational interventions impact the health and well-being of our patients.


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