Research, innovation, and evaluation, and framing inquiry Rachel H. Ellaway Community Health SciencesOffice of Health and Medical Education Scholarship
Health education is a field • No single theory, method, or approach • A meeting point for multiple concepts, practices, disciplines, perspectives: • Cognitivist - brains • Social constructivist • Systems • Philosophy, values • Practical and pragmatic focus on improving the training of physicians to improve health outcomes
A broad focus • Different levels (individual learning <> whole med-ed systems) • Different issues (what happens, how does it work, how can we improve it, how can we fix it, how do we respond to it …?) • Different values • Nomothetic – generalisable, global • Idiographic – context specific, local • Different philosophies • Measurement, explanation, prediction, generalism … • Strength in this eclecticism – and conflict
Scholarship Boyer’s model: • Scholarship of discovery (research, innovation) • Scholarship of integration (synthesis, cross-domain) • Scholarship of application (effectiveness) • Scholarship of teaching and learning (systematic evaluation and exploration) Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, N.J: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Quality in scholarship Quality in educational scholarship is reflected in work that is peer-reviewed and publicly disseminated, and that provides a platform that others can build on. [Canadian Association for Medical Education definition - paraphrased]
Scholarly practice • Structured inquiry: • Clear goals • Adequate preparation • Appropriate methods • Significant results • Effective presentation • Reflective critique Glassick CE, Huber MR, Maeroff GI. Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate. 1997; San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
What is inquiry? • Develop knowledge, understanding in a focused and structured way • Organizing knowledge • Systematic enquiry • Exploring through experimentation • Testable and predictive models • Many ways to structure inquiry • Depends on assumptions about reality and knowledge
Approaches to inquiry: METRICS Metascholarship Evaluation Translation Research Innovation Conceptual Synthesis
Ontology and epistemology • Ontology – the study of being • What exists, what is real, what do things have in common? • Epistemology – the study of knowledge, truth, belief • e.g. knowing how a car works vs knowing how to drive a car vs knowing how to build a car … • Difference: ‘does this exist?’ is ontology, ‘how can we understand this?’ is an epistemology • Both required in structured inquiry
Example • Ontology: does the [phenomenon] I am interested in really exist? What kind of thing is it? What other things is it like? Can I treat this thing in the same way? • Epistemology: what kinds of knowledge do we already have of this [phenomenon]? What kinds of knowledge do we need? How will we know and what will we know about it from this study/project? • Both have implications for theory and method …
Theory “a set of interrelated constructs, definitions and propositions that presents a systematic view of phenomena by specifying relations among variables, with the purpose of explaining and predicting the phenomena” Theory must be testable – confirmed or rejected consistently Theories are provisional – trajectories towards truth Two intersecting bodies of theory: • Theories of phenomena • Theories of inquiry Kerlinger, F (1970). Foundations of behavioural research. Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
The process of empiricism • Experience • Classification • Quantification • Discovery of relationships • Approximation to the truth • “the ultimate arbiter is not faith or utility or logic, or even truth, but the empirical world itself” Gorham, p52 Gorham, G (2009) The Philosophy of Science: A Beginner's Guide. Oneworld.
Theory and empiricism • “Theory without experience is empty, but experience without theory is blind” Immanuel Kant • Theory guides our approach to empiricism • Theory explains our empirical findings theory empiricism
Summary • Scholarship sets standards for working in and around HPE • There are different dimensions of scholarship, different kinds of approaches • With training, anyone can adopt a scholarly stance • Inquiry is central to scholarship
Summary • Ontology: what exists, what things are like • Epistemology: what we know, how we know it • Theory: propositions about how the world works • Empiricism: testing or generating knowledge based on real world experience • Theory and empiricism a necessary dyad • Many paradigms