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Opportunities for building medical education research capacity: A mixed methods study

Shannon Lea Saad, Pippa Craig, Lucie Rychetinic, Sally Lord, Fran Everingham


Background: Providing evidence-based, high-quality medical education requires asolid research base with ongoing development. Academic teachers in medical schools are expected to establish and maintain research involvement as part of their university appointment. This paper used a mix of methods to explore teaching interest as a vehicle for increasing research capacity among clinician teachers.

Methods: Ten clinician teachers participated in semi-structured one-on-one interviews exploring their experiences and attitudes to medical education and biomedical research. Data were analysed thematically. From this, a quantitative survey focusing on clinical teachers’ research interest and involvement was developed and administered across the medical school.

Results: Two common themes from the interviews were an expressed interest in participating in medical education research and a perceived value and relevance to clinician teachers’ academic appointments. The two major inhibiting factors that were identified were a lack of time and unclear pathways to research participation. Of those surveyed, 51% were currently involved in research and 24% were interested in becoming involved in research. Perceived barriers to research participation were time (73%), lack of skills (22%) and funding (36%).

Conclusions: Increasing teacher participation in medical education research represents a significant untapped source of research output for the school, an area of important professional development for the teachers and an avenue for attaining excellence in education for the students and the institution. These are in addition to the opportunity to contribute to scholarship in teaching and learning.


clinical educators; education research; universities

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