ResearchPad - eye-opener Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[“The storm has arrived”: the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on medical students]]> In a few weeks, the global community has witnessed, and for some of us experienced first-hand, the human costs of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is incredible variability in how countries are choosing to thwart the disease’s outbreak, sparking intense discussions around what it means to teach and learn in the era of COVID-19, and more specifically, the role medical students play in the midst of the pandemic. A multi-national and multi-institutional group made up of a dedicated medical student from Austria, passionate clinicians and educators from Switzerland, and a PhD scientist involved in Medical Education from Canada, have assembled to summarize the ingenious ways medical students around the world are contributing to emergency efforts. They argue that such efforts change COVID-19 from a “disruption” to medical students learning to something more tangible, more important, allowing students to become stakeholders in the expansion and delivery of healthcare.

<![CDATA[The reflective zombie: Problematizing the conceptual framework of reflection in medical education]]>

Reflection is an ambiguous and profoundly complex human activity. We celebrate the developments in teaching and researching reflection in education, yet have identified flaws in the way reflection has been operationalized: medical education has translated the age-old concept into a teachable and measureable construct. We fear that in this process of operationalization, the philosophical underpinnings of reflection have been discarded. We illustrate this with a thought experiment about a ‘reflective zombie’: students who have been conditioned to follow prescribed thought steps rather than engaging in truly reflective behaviour. In research and assessment of reflection, measuring tools might be unable to distinguish reflective zombies from students who authentically reflect. We argue that the instrumental approach lies at the root of this problem as it limits the rich concept of reflection and illustrate our point by describing problems related to paradigm (we are looking at reflection in the wrong way), methods (we are using the wrong tools), and epistemics (can we even know what we want to know?). We offer three suggestions for implementing reflection into the curriculum and for research into reflection. First, acknowledge the diversity of reflection and let go of the ‘checklist approach’. Second, embrace the personal nature of reflection by stimulating awareness of one’s personal reflection styles as part of the reflective process. Third, shift the focus of research to the practice of reflection. We believe that a strong vision on reflection can lead to a balanced curriculum, setting students up for a lifelong learning as a reflective practitioner.

<![CDATA[Analysis of question text properties for equality monitoring]]>


Ongoing monitoring of cohort demographic variation is an essential part of quality assurance in medical education assessments, yet the methods employed to explore possible underlying causes of demographic variation in performance are limited. Focussing on properties of the vignette text in single-best-answer multiple-choice questions (MCQs), we explore here the viability of conducting analyses of text properties and their relationship to candidate performance. We suggest that such analyses could become routine parts of assessment evaluation and provide an additional, equality-based measure of an assessment’s quality and fairness.


We describe how a corpus of vignettes can be compiled, followed by examples of using Microsoft Word’s native readability statistics calculator and the koRpus text analysis package for the R statistical analysis environment for estimating the following properties of the question text: Flesch Reading Ease (FRE), Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (Grade), word count, sentence count, and average words per sentence (WpS). We then provide examples of how these properties can be combined with equality and diversity variables, and the process automated to provide ongoing monitoring.


Given the monitoring of demographic differences in assessment for assurance of equality, the ability to easily include textual analysis of question vignettes provides a useful tool for exploring possible causes of demographic variations in performance where they occur. It also provides another means of evaluating assessment quality and fairness with respect to demographic characteristics. Microsoft Word provides data comparable to the specialized koRpus package, suggesting routine use of word processing software for writing items and assessing their properties is viable with minimal burden, but that automation for ongoing monitoring also provides an additional means of standardizing MCQ assessment items, and eliminating or controlling textual variables as a possible contributor to differential attainment between subgroups.

<![CDATA[Help wanted: developing clinician leaders]]>

Because healthcare faces challenges, such as ensuring quality and access and controlling cost, effective leadership is needed at every level of healthcare organizations. Yet, physicians are trained in clinical and scientific skills but not in leadership competencies. Furthermore, clinicians often feel ill-prepared to assume managerial and leadership roles. To close this gap, training in leadership competencies, such as emotional intelligence, communication, teamwork, and change management, is urgently needed for physicians and clinicians of all disciplines. Leadership training should be multidisciplinary and should begin early in clinicians’ careers.