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J Med Libr Assoc. 2017 Oct;105(4):328-335. doi: 10.5195/jmla.2017.134. Epub 2017 Oct 1.

Characteristics of multi-institutional health sciences education research: a systematic review.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Multi-institutional research increases the generalizability of research findings. However, little is known about characteristics of collaborations across institutions in health sciences education research. Using a systematic review process, the authors describe characteristics of published, peer-reviewed multi-institutional health sciences education research to inform educators who are considering such projects.

METHODS:

Two medical librarians searched MEDLINE, the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), EMBASE, and CINAHL databases for English-language studies published between 2004 and 2013 using keyword terms related to multi-institutional systems and health sciences education. Teams of two authors reviewed each study and resolved coding discrepancies through consensus. Collected data points included funding, research network involvement, author characteristics, learner characteristics, and research methods. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

RESULTS:

One hundred eighteen of 310 articles met inclusion criteria. Sixty-three (53%) studies received external and/or internal financial support (87% listed external funding, 37% listed internal funding). Forty-five funded studies involved graduate medical education programs. Twenty (17%) studies involved a research or education network. Eighty-five (89%) publications listed an author with a master's degree or doctoral degree. Ninety-two (78%) studies were descriptive, whereas 26 studies (22%) were experimental. The reported study outcomes were changes in student attitude (38%; n=44), knowledge (26%; n=31), or skill assessment (23%; n=27), as well as patient outcomes (9%; n=11).

CONCLUSIONS:

Multi-institutional descriptive studies reporting knowledge or attitude outcomes are highly published. Our findings indicate that funding resources are not essential to successfully undertake multi-institutional projects. Funded studies were more likely to originate from graduate medical or nursing programs.

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