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Pragmatic Problems in Programs of Research

Pragmatic Problems in Programs of Research

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Pragmatic Problems in Programs of Research

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  1. Pragmatic Problems in Programs of Research Larry D. Gruppen, Ph.D. University of Michigan, USA

  2. Two Types of “Program of Research” • The Dolmans definition: • A series of studies that build upon each other using various theoretical perspectives and methodologies • Aligning or coordinating research plans/agendas • Differences between individual vs. group programs of research

  3. Individual Programs Pros Cons Limited theoretical or methodological approaches Responsible for everything – no sharing the workload Individual motivation • Managing the program activities • Continuity in perspective and building on prior results • Individual motivation

  4. Group Programs Pros Cons Defining the program Sharing and collaboration Maintaining the group Shifting group membership More competing priorities and distractions • Richer range of expertise and perspectives • Access to more resources • Greater continuity in the program – not dependent on one person

  5. Pragmatic Issues – General

  6. Defining the Program of Research • Significant question – fundable, theoretical, publishable, practical • Interesting to you – motivation • Feasible – opportunities, resources, expertise, methods

  7. Funding and Resources • Funding protects time and provides “legitimacy” for the program • Funding is difficult to find • Government • Foundations • Institutional • “Hidden”

  8. Funding and Resources • Necessary resources depend on methodology and research questions • Transcription • Data management and analysis • Measurement • Access and permissions

  9. Pragmatic Issue – Individual Programs

  10. Depth vs. Breadth • “Program of research” implies depth • Depth can show intellectual rigor and define a ‘reputation’ • “Who do you think of when topic X arises?” • Breadth demonstrates flexibility • Many medical educators must do many things

  11. Maintaining Focus • Competing demands of one’s job • Needs of others often take precedent • Competing professional priorities • Excel in research, patient care, or teaching? • Intellectual distractions • Researchers tend to be curious about many things

  12. Pragmatic Issues – Group Programs

  13. Forming the Group • Shared interest/commitment • Complementary expertise – theory, methods • Openness to alternative ideas and approaches • Access to needed resources • Personal compatibility • Generosity and altruism

  14. Maintaining the Group • Frequent communication • Clear assignments and deadlines • Define authorship/ownership issues • Publicity – local and (inter)national communities

  15. In Conclusion • What Lambert and Diana said: • Collaborate and network (AMEE provides perfect opportunity) • Respect the complexity of important questions • Count the costs of pursuing a program of research and prepare for them