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Tackling the void: the importance of addressing absences in the field of health professions education research

Tackling the void: the importance of addressing absences in the field of health professions... Many processes and practices in the field of health professions education have been based more on tradition and assumption than on evidence and theory. As the field matures, researchers are increasingly seeking evidence to support various teaching and assessment methods. However, there is a tendency to focus on a limited set of topics, leaving other areas under-examined and limiting our understanding of the field. By explicitly examining areas that are undescribed, i.e. absences in the literature, researchers and scholars have the potential to enrich our practice and our field’s understanding of what counts as legitimate research. Using the theoretical framework of Bourdieu’s concept of field, we conducted an instrumental case study of three published research projects that each had a finding of absence. We examined each case individually, and then analyzed across cases. Our dataset included published papers, peer-review feedback, and reflective notes. Each of the cases interrogated a different form of absence: absence of content, absence of research, and absence of evidence. While the typology suggests that each absence was different, there were similarities across cases in terms of challenges in ‘proving’ the reality of the absence and some disbelief or discomfort with accepting the findings as rigorous and/or legitimate. Absence research has potential to add to our theoretical and methodological approaches to the field. This type of research is potentially an exciting and productive new way for scholars to shed light on aspects of health professions education that have received limited attention to date. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Advances in Health Sciences Education Springer Journals

Tackling the void: the importance of addressing absences in the field of health professions education research

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © Springer Nature B.V. 2020
ISSN
1382-4996
eISSN
1573-1677
DOI
10.1007/s10459-020-09966-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Many processes and practices in the field of health professions education have been based more on tradition and assumption than on evidence and theory. As the field matures, researchers are increasingly seeking evidence to support various teaching and assessment methods. However, there is a tendency to focus on a limited set of topics, leaving other areas under-examined and limiting our understanding of the field. By explicitly examining areas that are undescribed, i.e. absences in the literature, researchers and scholars have the potential to enrich our practice and our field’s understanding of what counts as legitimate research. Using the theoretical framework of Bourdieu’s concept of field, we conducted an instrumental case study of three published research projects that each had a finding of absence. We examined each case individually, and then analyzed across cases. Our dataset included published papers, peer-review feedback, and reflective notes. Each of the cases interrogated a different form of absence: absence of content, absence of research, and absence of evidence. While the typology suggests that each absence was different, there were similarities across cases in terms of challenges in ‘proving’ the reality of the absence and some disbelief or discomfort with accepting the findings as rigorous and/or legitimate. Absence research has potential to add to our theoretical and methodological approaches to the field. This type of research is potentially an exciting and productive new way for scholars to shed light on aspects of health professions education that have received limited attention to date.

Journal

Advances in Health Sciences EducationSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 6, 2020

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