Exploring Stakeholders' Views of Medical Education Research Priorities: A National Survey

Dennis et al. (2014) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?

medical education

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?

Europe - United Kingdom

Why was it conducted at all?

Setting research priorities is important when exploring complex issues with limited resources. Only two countries (Canada and New Zealand) have previously conducted priority setting exercises for medical education research. This study aimed to identify
the views of multiple stakeholders on MER priorities in Scotland.

What was the objective?

to identify the views of multiple stakeholders on medical education research priorities in Scotland

What was the outcome?

a list of 5 research topics

How long did the research prioritization take?

August 2012 - June 2013

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: survey 1 asking participants to write down what they thought were the top three priorities for medical education research in Scotland over the next 3-5 years and to justify their choices. Step 2: data processing: thematic analysis: resulting in 8 themes and 21 sub-themes. Step 3: survey 2: participants were asked to rate the importance of each topic and to identify their top 5 topics

Which stakeholders took part?

Learners, trainers, managers, medical and non-medical health care professionals, patients, researchers. 105 participants.

How were stakeholders recruited?

A utilised maximum variation sampling across both stages was used; recognising that different stakeholder groups (e.g. learners, trainers, managers, medical and non-medical health care professionals, patients and researchers) may have differing perspectives about priorities along the educational continuum in Scotland. In Stage 1, SMERC members nominated individuals within the identified stakeholder groups whom they felt would be sufficiently informed about MER to answer open-ended questions about priorities, in addition to some international stakeholders who would be able to provide a broader perspective on MER priorities. 198 stakeholders were contacted through personally addressed e-mails and letters to inform them they had been nominated to participate in Stage 1. Recruitment efforts continued until each of the stakeholder groups included at least one person and the sample size exceeded 100. Stage 2: As many people as possible were invited through multiple recruitment methods in order to maximise participation. Recruitment methods included: (i) e-mails sent out to medical schools, deaneries, health boards, NES and CS-MEN; (ii) paper and electronic notices on noticeboards; (iii) snowballing through learner or trainer networks and school and deanery communications, and (iv) social networking (e.g. Facebook). Additionally, individuals who completed the first questionnaire were also invited to fill out the second questionnaire. Again recruitment efforts were continued until the authors felt they had achieved reasonable involvement from each stakeholder group.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.