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Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2017 Jun 30. doi: 10.1007/s10459-017-9781-2. [Epub ahead of print]

Exploring the influence of context on feedback at medical school: a video-ethnography study.

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Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, Scotland, UK.
NHS Education for Scotland, East Deanery, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, Scotland, UK.
Monash Centre for Scholarship in Health Education, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.


Feedback in medical education is complicated by the multiple contexts within which learning occurs. However, feedback research in medical education has typically focused on information provided by tutors to students with limited exploration of the influence of context. This research seeks to address this gap by exploring the influence of multiple contexts upon feedback processes. Employing video-ethnography methodology we explored feedback in two common contexts for medical student learning: the simulated clinical environment and the medical workplace. Learning and teaching sessions were filmed in each of these contexts, capturing diverse feedback processes. Data were analysed for key themes using a Framework Analysis approach and similarities and differences between the two contexts identified. In total 239 distinct feedback episodes across 28 different teaching and learning sessions were captured, with feedback processes relating to the patient, practice, educational and institutional contexts observed. In this paper, we concentrate on key similarities and differences in feedback processes between the two contexts with respect to six themes: feedback interlocutors, interlocutor positioning, feedback types, feedback foci, feedback styles and feedback milieu. We argue that feedback is inextricably linked to the multiple contexts in which feedback is enacted. It is only by exploring these contextual influences that feedback can be understood more fully. With such understanding we should be better placed to develop interventions capable of improving the long elusive experience of successful feedback.


Context; Feedback; Undergraduate medical education; Video; Video-ethnography; Video-reflexive ethnography; Visual-ethnography

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