Reply to Dornan et al.'s 'On evidence'



Publication Details

Stephenson, A., Todres, M. & Jones, R. (2009). Reply to Dornan et al.'s 'On evidence'. Medical Education, 43 (4), 390-391.


Editor - We would like to respond to Dornan et al.'s recent commentary,1 which touched on the nature of evidence in medical education research, the range of research methodologies that can be deployed, and the relationship between research quality and funding. Dornan and colleagues referred to our British Medical Journal paper,2 in which we reviewed the current state of published medical education research in a number of key journals. For the record, we did not advocate randomised controlled trials as the single gold standard for medical education research, but we did say that if they are going to be conducted, they should be conducted well. We did not advocate the use of quantitative research methods at the expense of qualitative or mixed‐method approaches and, although we did find a suggestion that better‐funded research may be more likely to be published in more highly regarded journals, we certainly did not say that unfunded research was necessarily inferior. Our message, in a nutshell, was that better funding is needed for medical education research, across the board, and that medical education research needs to aspire to the highest standards, irrespective of the methods used.

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