Practitioner-researcher Imaginations: Teaching Social Research to Health Science Undergraduates
Background: Health practitioners’ use of research in clinical practice is a requirement of evidence based practice. However, the medical and educational literature laments the gap between research and practice. There are multiple barriers to health professionals’ use of research in practice such as the different cultures of research and practice; research is rarely taught at undergraduate medical school in a comprehensive way and many students do not enjoy research subjects because research skills are perceived as irrelevant to practice. Moving beyond the current debates about the gap and differences between research and practice, which typically posit either/or solutions, I argue for multiplicities, mixtures and the crossing of boundaries. I argue that divisions between practitioners and researchers, theory and practice are artificial and propose a practitioner-researcher imagination. I also suggest the use of multiple teaching and learning methods in the teaching of research. Method: The suggested mixtures (in identity and teaching methods) are explored by reflecting on a first year Health Science subject in the Medical Faculty at Monash University in Australia which involves students in professional issues such as research skills. Students are encouraged to craft identities as practitioner-researchers. Conclusions: By identifying as practitioner-researchers and conducting research, students should be better equipped to engage critically with evidence, rather than uncritically applying scientific evidence in clinical practice. The challenges posed by embracing mixtures, particularly a practitioner-researcher approach, are discussed and hopeful suggestions for encouraging students to become practitioner-researchers are suggested.
Publisher: Australian and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators
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Keywords: medical education; pedagogy; health professional education; research methods education
Research Type: Journal Article