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Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2017 Oct 12. doi: 10.1007/s10459-017-9797-7. [Epub ahead of print]

Actor-network theory and the OSCE: formulating a new research agenda for a post-psychometric era.

Author information

1
Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE), Deakin University, Geelong, VIC, Australia. margaret.bearman@deakin.edu.au.
2
Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE), Deakin University, Geelong, VIC, Australia.

Abstract

The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is a ubiquitous part of medical education, although there is some debate about its value, particularly around possible impact on learning. Literature and research regarding the OSCE is most often situated within the psychometric or competency discourses of assessment. This paper describes an alternative approach: Actor-network-theory (ANT), a sociomaterial approach to understanding practice and learning. ANT provides a means to productively examine tensions and limitations of the OSCE, in part through extending research to include social relationships and physical objects. Using a narrative example, the paper suggests three ANT-informed insights into the OSCE. We describe: (1) exploring the OSCE as a holistic combination of people and objects; (2) thinking about the influences a checklist can exert over the OSCE; and (3) the implications of ANT educational research for standardisation within the OSCE. We draw from this discussion to provide a practical agenda for ANT research into the OSCE. This agenda promotes new areas for exploration in an often taken-for-granted assessment format.

KEYWORDS:

ANT; Actor-network theory; Assessment research; OSCE; Qualitative research methods; Sociomateriality

PMID:
29027040
DOI:
10.1007/s10459-017-9797-7
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