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BMJ. 2007 September 1; 335(7617): 414–415.
PMCID: PMC1962859
Medical Education Research

Reasons to be cheerful

Julian Archer, clinical lecturer in medical education

The article by Todres et al raises important questions about the funding challenges of educational research in medicine.1 They are correct to point out these challenges, but I fear that they continue to add to them by their particular reference to randomised controlled trials (RCTs). This is perhaps a worrying insight into the continuing positivistic “lens” of the profession within a normative paradigm.2 It is well acknowledged that RCTs are rarely if ever relevant in educational research.3 It is this continuing and unnecessary conflict of paradigms that not only affects funding but also ethical approval.4

Several new academic clinical fellowships and lectureships in medical education have been awarded. These centrally funded positions support academic careers at doctoral level and beyond within the new UK training framework. These are exciting opportunities to develop academic educators for the future. The positions have a similar funding to the clinician scientist posts within the UK Clinical Research Collaboration and will need further grants in the longer term. This will require major funders of laboratory medicine to review their research profiles.

A second major development has been the formation of the Academy for Medical Educators (AME). The academy's overall aims include developing and sustaining medical education as an academic discipline and supporting academic and professional leadership in medical education. Foundation membership facilities are in place and elections to the first council will start this autumn.

Notes

Competing interests: JA is a UKCRC clinical lecturer in medical education at Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry and a member of the Transitional Council, AME

References

Todres M, Stephenson A, Jones R. Medical education research remains the poor relation. BMJ 2007;335:333-5. (18 August.) [PMC free article] [PubMed]
Douglas JD. Understanding everyday life. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973
Norman GR. Results confounded and trivial: the perils of grand educational experiments. Med Educ 2003;37:582-4. [PubMed]
Pugsley L, Dornan T. Using a sledgehammer to crack a nut: clinical ethics review and medical education projects. Med Educ 2007;41:726-8. [PubMed]

Articles from The BMJ are provided here courtesy of BMJ Publishing Group