Trends and developments in medical education research
background In medical educational research specific approaches and research methods are used, the risk being that the field becomes less accessible to clinicians and teachers.
aim To highlight the relevance of educational research for clinical practice.
method A description of the development of medical educational research as a field and of the different types of research questions and the role of theories from related social sciences such as psychology, pedagogy and sociology.
results First, there are the descriptive studies, based on the question ‘what has been done’. Second, there are justification studies that compare educational innovations with existing practice to provide insight into ‘did the intervention work better?’. A third group of studies focuses on clarification of underlying learning processes, with the question ‘why or how did it work?’ Theory helps with the design of studies and interpretation of research results, thereby increasing the quality and relevance of medical educational research.
conclusion Medical educational research has developed rapidly, and the involvement of teachers and clinicians (such as psychiatrists) is necessary to ensure that it remains closely connected to practice.