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Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2007 Feb;12(1):103-15. Epub 2006 Oct 11.

Research in medical education: balancing service and science.

Author information

1
Wilson Centre for Research in Education, Toronto General Hospital, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, 200 Elizabeth Street, Eaton-South 1-581, Toronto, ON, M5G 2C4, Canada. Mathieu.albert@utoronto.ca

Abstract

Since the latter part of the 1990's, the English-speaking medical education community has been engaged in a debate concerning the types of research that should have priority. To shed light on this debate and to better understand its implications for the practice of research, 23 semi-structured interviews were conducted with "influential figures" from the community. The results were analyzed using the concept of "field" developed by the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. The results reveal that a large majority of these influential figures believe that research in medical education continues to be of insufficient quality despite the progress that has taken place over the past 2 decades. According to this group, studies tend to be both redundant and opportunistic, and researchers tend to have limited understanding of both theory and methodological practice from the social sciences. Three factors were identified by the participants to explain the current problems in research: the working conditions of researchers, budgetary restraints in financing research in medical education, and the conception of research in the medical environment. Two principal means for improving research are presented: intensifying collaboration between PhD's and clinicians, and encouraging the diversification of perspectives brought to bear on research in medical education.

PMID:
17033879
PMCID:
PMC2779425
DOI:
10.1007/s10459-006-9026-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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