Research in Education


Key Points:

  • Use the FINER criteria to assess your research question - is it Feasible, Interesting, Novel, Ethical and Relevant? 
  • Glassick offers the following guidelines for scholarship assessment which are important to keep in mind when designing a research question/project:
    1. Definition of clear goals and specific aims
    2. Comprehensive literature review
    3. Appropriate study design methods and analysis
    4. Effective communication through manuscript
    5. Demonstration of how the results increase knowledge and understanding in the field
  • When assessing outcomes keep in mind that progressing upward on Kirkpatrick's hierarchy (Reaction, Learning, Behavior, Results) will provide more meaningful outcomes yet will be more challenging to demonstrate.



  • Have a systematic approach to your research - Start with a well-defined research question, next describe the study design and appropriate methods, lastly select the outcomes and identify assessment instruments and statistical analysis tools
  • Familiarize yourself with a wide variety of teaching methods, since different teaching pedagogies work better in different circumstances 


Recommended Resources: 

Brief Review


How to Get Published in a Peer-Reviewed Journal: Part 1- Planning and Execution. American Society of Hematology. 7 minutes.

How to Get Published in a Peer-Reviewed Journal: Part 2- Choosing a Target Journal. American Society of Hematology. 7 minutes.

How to Get Published in a Peer-Reviewed Journal: Part 3- Preparing the Paper. American Society of Hematology. 8 minutes.

How to Get Published in a Peer-Reviewed Journal: Part 4- Special Content and Images. American Society of Hematology. 9 minutes.

How to Get Published in a Peer-Reviewed Journal: Part 5- Manuscript Submission and Post-Submission. American Society of Hematology. 9 minutes.

How Best to Design Education Research. American Institute for Research. 4 minutes.

Publishing Your Research 101 - Episode 1: How to Write a Paper to Communicate Your Research. American Chemical Society. 8 minutes.


General overview
Tavakol M, Sandars J. Quantitative and qualitative methods in medical education research: AMEE Guide No 90: Part I. Med Teach. 2014 Sep;36(9):746-56. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2014.915298. Epub 2014 May 20. PubMed PMID: 24846122.

Crites GE, Gaines JK, Cottrell S, Kalishman S, Gusic M, Mavis B, Durning SJ. Medical education scholarship: an introductory guide: AMEE Guide No. 89. Med Teach. 2014 Aug;36(8):657-74. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2014.916791. Epub 2014 Jun 26. PubMed PMID: 24965698.

Schuwirth LW, van der Vleuten CP. General overview of the theories used in assessment: AMEE Guide No. 57. Med Teach. 2011;33(10):783-97. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.611022. Review. PubMed PMID: 21942477.

Study Planning and Proposal Writing
Beckman TJ, Cook DA. Developing scholarly projects in education: a primer for medical teachers. Med Teach. 2007 Mar;29(2-3):210-8. PubMed PMID: 17701635.

Bordage G, Dawson B. Experimental study design and grant writing in eight steps and 28 questions. Med Educ. 2003 Apr;37(4):376-85. PubMed PMID: 12654123.

Cook DA, Beckman TJ. Reflections on experimental research in medical education. Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2010 Aug;15(3):455-64. doi: 10.1007/s10459-008-9117-3. Epub 2008 Apr 22. PubMed PMID: 18427941.

Cook DA, Bowen JL, Gerrity MS, Kalet AL, Kogan JR, Spickard A, Wayne DB. Proposed standards for medical education submissions to the Journal of General Internal Medicine. J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Jul;23(7):908-13. doi: 10.1007/s11606-008-0676-z. PubMed PMID: 18612716

Bordage G. Conceptual frameworks to illuminate and magnify. Med Educ. 2009 Apr;43(4):312-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2009.03295.x. PubMed PMID: 19335572

Cook DA, Bordage G, Schmidt HG. Description, justification and clarification: a framework for classifying the purposes of research in medical education. Med Educ. 2008 Feb;42(2):128-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2007.02974.x. Epub 2008 Jan 8. Review. PubMed PMID: 18194162

Norman G. Data dredging, salami-slicing, and other successful strategies to ensure rejection: twelve tips on how to not get your paper published. Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2014 Mar;19(1):1-5. doi: 10.1007/s10459-014-9494-8. PubMed PMID: 24473751


Write Winning Grant Proposals Workshop. Mayo Clinic. $ Fee required


In-Depth Review


Writing in the Sciences. Stanford School of Medicine. 54 video playlist.

How to Write a Great Research Paper. Microsoft Research Cambridge. 34 minutes.

NSF Grant Writing Workshop. National Science Foundation. 94 minutes.


Researching Medical Education. Jennifer Cleland and Steven J. Durning. 320 pages. An authoritative guide to excellence in educational research in the health professions. Presented by the Association for the Study of Medical Education and the Association for Medical Education in Europe, Researching Medical Education includes contributions from a team of international clinicians and non-clinical researchers in health education, representing a range of disciplines and backgrounds. $61.81

Crafting a Fundable Grant. E. Huang. 


Medical Education Research Certificate (MERC) curriculum. Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The Medical Education Research Certificate (MERC) program is intended to provide the knowledge necessary to understand the purposes and processes of medical education research, to become informed consumers of the medical education research literature, and to be effective collaborators in medical education research. $ Fee required

Fundamentals of Clinical and Translational Science online course. Mayo Clinic. Free online program providing an introduction to basic research concepts and methods.