Selecting and Executing Knowledge Syntheses in Medical Education

Date:  Saturday 5 September 2020
Time:  0930-1230
Location:  Shuna, Crowne Plaza

  • Aliki Thomas, McGill University, Canada
  • Tanya Horsley, University of Ottawa, Canada
  • Ryan Brydges, Univeristy of Toronto, Canada

Summary of theme and why it is important:  There is an unprecedented rise in the number of peer-reviewed publications in Health Professions Education (HPE). This abundance of primary studies has prompted increased interest in summarizing this research through multiple types of knowledge syntheses, leaving review teams challenged to navigate, identify, and apply both standard and innovative approaches for summarizing research and other forms of evidence. Moreover, the growth in the number and type of published syntheses has sparked discussions on if, and how, these can be used to inform educational practices and policies. In this workshop, we will briefly explore the nature, purpose, value and emerging discourses of prominent and innovative evidence synthesis techniques and their use in HPE. Drawing from the literature on synthesis methodology, their experience in conducting syntheses as well as writing about the methodological affordances and challenges of various types of syntheses faculty will 1) briefly overview the history of evidence syntheses and their role in the evidence informed HPE agenda; 2) provide conceptual recommendations for selecting the most appropriate knowledge synthesis method to answer medical education research questions; 3) address alignment between question and synthesis methodology; and 4) support participants in selecting the most appropriate synthesis methodology for a question of their choice.
What participants will gain:  After attending the session, the audience members will be able to: 1. Discuss and discern the nature, purpose, value and role of 5 common synthesis approaches Including systematic, scoping, narrative, umbrella and realist syntheses of medical education research; 2. List the type of synthesis methods most suitable for answering particular research questions; 3. Describe generally the types of knowledge produced by particular synthesis methods; 4. Lay out a plan for executing a synthesis of their choice including a justification for their choice
Who should participate:  Individuals interested in: • Learning about the fundamentals of evidence syntheses • Understanding how to align research questions appropriately to synthesis methods, • Increasing their understanding of common evidence synthesis methods including scoping, systematic, umbrella, narrative and realist syntheses.
Level of workshop:  Introductory and Intermediate

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