Five principles for using educational theory: Strategies for advancing health professions education research

Anita Samuel, Abigail Konopasky, Lambert W.T. Schuwirth, Svetlana M. King, Steven J. Durning

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Health professions education (HPE) research often involves examining complex phenomena. Theory provides a means for better understanding the mechanics of these phenomena and guiding health professions researchers and educators as they navigate the practical implications for teaching, learning, and research. Engaging with educational theory is, therefore, critical to facilitating this understanding. However, this engagement presents a key challenge for HPE researchers and educators without a background in social science. This article outlines 5 key principles of engaging with theory and offers integration strategies to assist HPE researchers and educators who wish to apply theory to their HPE scholarship and practice. The article concludes with a practical example of how these principles were applied to an HPE research project, demonstrating the value of theory in enhancing research quality. Existing theories can facilitate opportunities for individual researchers to better understand complex phenomena while simultaneously moving forward the field of HPE.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)518-522
    Number of pages5
    JournalAcademic Medicine
    Volume95
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

    Keywords

    • health professions education
    • educational theory
    • educational research
    • research theories

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