Advancement of Theory and Research Methodology
The Centre for Medical Education is committed to ensuring that its research and scholarship contribute to the knowledge base in HSE and to advancing the theories and methodologies that undergird the production of this knowledge. Health sciences education research draws on theories and methodologies from across myriad research traditions. Methodologies include qualitative, quantitative, mixed-method, and participatory approaches. Theoretical frameworks draw from education, psychology, sociology and the medical humanities. The expertise housed within the Centre positions it well to advance both methodology and theory, with the goal of enhancing the strength of all research outputs and further developing HSE as a rigorous research discipline.
Development of Policy and Practice
A priority of the Centre is to ensure that conceptual and empirical research is attentive to policy and practice implications. This commitment is based on the shared values of social accountability and evidence-informed policy and practice. While policy and practice recommendations might not be the central focus of every research endeavor, our collective commitment to knowledge translation inspires our researchers to ask questions that inform educational practices and highlight the implications of their research for the development of educational and health care policies. Policy recommendations are intended to guide the uptake of findings in a way that they can influence education and health care jurisdictions, be it in the area of admissions to professional programs, faculty development programming, student-centred learning in all disciplines, or discharge planning for patients. Practice recommendations, informed by conceptual and empirical research findings, are intended to inspire the frontline activities of health professionals, managers, policy-makers, patients, family caregivers, and learners at all levels of the educational continuum.
Knowledge translation (KT) involves the processes used to generate, disseminate and support the uptake of new knowledge and evidence into educational practices and policy with different stakeholder groups (e.g., educators, program directors, clinicians, policy-makers). KT raises knowledge awareness of results emerging from research findings and enables their use. Researchers at the Centre undertake innovative research that engages two forms of KT: (1) Integrated KT, where all those interested in the research and its outcomes work collaboratively at all stages of the research process to ensure that the research findings are relevant and useful for the end users; and (2) End-of-grant KT, where researchers include a plan for how they will translate their findings when the research is completed. Centre members’ contributions include syntheses of available knowledge in health professions education, the study of the factors that affect how, when and under what circumstances knowledge is used to inform educational decision-making, and the design and evaluation of diverse KT interventions to improve educational practices and policies, with the ultimate aim of improving the health care provided to individuals in our society.
Social accountability is a systematic concern for the interests of those who are affected by and have a stake in HSE. Although this construct typically relates to the communities and society beyond HSE educational systems, it also includes health professionals, managers, patients and HSE students. The representation of social accountability as a cross-cutting goal and strategy is a formal commitment to ensuring that HSE research and practice does not assume HSE to be an end in itself, but rather that it strives to reflect and advance the interests of those affected by it. Although not always the defining focus of a research output, social accountability is often reflected in specific research outputs, such as: the consideration of the society that funds HSE and of who “owns” HSE; statements on the implications of research contributions for those who are affected by and invested in HSE; and elaborations on the rationale for a particular strategy or action recommended for knowledge translation.