Student and graduate perceptions of the Doctor of Clinical Dentistry programme - a qualitative research project
Introduction: Research suggests that students’ perceptions should be considered in any discussion of their education. However, to date, there has been no systematic examination of New Zealand postgraduate dental students’ learning experiences in both the research and clinical settings. This study aimed to obtain in-depth qualitative insights into student and graduate perspectives of effective and ineffective learning experiences during their postgraduate dental education. Methods: Data were collected in 2010 using semi-structured individual interviews. Participants included 2010 final-year students and 2009 graduates of the University of Otago Doctor of Clinical Dentistry programme. Using the Critical Incident Technique, participants were asked to describe at least one effective and one ineffective learning experience in detail. Interview transcripts were analysed using a general inductive approach. Results: Broad themes which emerged included supervisory approaches, characteristics of the learning process, and characteristics of the physical learning environment. Factors which participants associated with effective learning included: supervisor demonstration of new techniques; supervisor support; opportunities for both interactive and self-directed learning; constructive feedback; exposure to interdisciplinary clinical approaches and multiple clinical opinions; sufficient clinical practice; opportunities to do clinically-relevant research; and access to excellent facilities. Factors which participants identified as precluding effective learning included: inadequate supervisor demonstrations; intimidatory/discriminatory supervisory approaches; unsupported/isolated learning; destructive criticism; poor interdisciplinary coordination; the adoption of a “standard” patient treatment strategy; an over-emphasis on research over clinical practice; and outdated infrastructure. Conclusion: Participants’ responses provided in-depth insights into their understandings of effective and ineffective learning. The research findings will inform curriculum and staff development in postgraduate dental education. Future research is needed that examines supervisors’ perceptions of effective teaching/mentoring practices in postgraduate dental education.
Advisor: Thomson, William Murray; Anderson, Vivienne; Morgaine, Kate
Degree Name: Master of Health Sciences
Degree Discipline: Oral Sciences/Dentistry
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Medical education; Dental education; Student voice; Student feedback; Higher education; Qualitative research; New Zealand; Postgraduate education; Faculty development; Academic staff development; Education research; Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (D.Clin.Dent.); Effective supervision; Effective learning; Educational environment; Clinical education; Health professional education; Curriculum; Critical incident technique; Inductive analysis; Pedagogical research and practice; Doctoral education
Research Type: Thesis