Research and Evaluation in Medical Education

Helena A. Ferris, Mary E. Collins


The landscape of medical education is continuously evolving, as are the needs of the learner. The appropriate use of research and evaluation is key when assessing the need for change and instituting one’s innovative endeavours. This paper demonstrates how research seeks to generate new knowledge, whereas evaluation uses information acquired from research to make decisions as to how well a particular practice is working and whether or not changes or improvements are required (Polit D & Beck C. 2007).

Ideally evaluation and research should be synergistic as both research and evaluation seek evidence for developing practice (Fain J., 2005). However, in reality this is challenging as there can often be a dichotomy between the two. Increasingly, medical educators and researchers are working as part of multidisciplinary teams so that a collective picture can be generated using ‘evaluative research’. Not only is this a more efficient way of analysing information, but it also encourages the sharing of knowledge across professional borders (Mitchell R et al. 2015).

It is evident that research and evaluation are of the utmost importance and will continue to be a cornerstone of both modern day evidence based medicine and medical education.


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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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