For the past two decades, there have been calls for health education to become more evidence-based.
This has been interpreted by some as a lack of understanding of social science methodology and outcomes, but there is some truth to these concerns, with historically poor use of methodologies that cannot hope to answer the research questions set. A focus that moves past asking questions other than simply ‘whether’ interventions are effective and focussing on educational research outcomes that are likely to influence teaching practice is needed. Additionally, there is a requirement for a better balance of research that also included clarification studies to ask ‘how’ and ‘why’.
School of Medicine and Dentistry group
The focus of the group in the School concerns itself with the impact and effectiveness of education on all members of the dental team, in training and in work.
We have been successful in attracting funding to support several research projects. These range from a study of the predictive value of pre-admission tests and students’ performance on the Dentistry course, to a comparison of the attitudes and perseverance of dental students and hygiene and therapy students; and investigating the effects and opportunities of inter-professional learning. Members of the group are evaluating the use of the flipped learning approach in teaching, and assessing the learning styles of graduate entry students. We also work in the wider educational arena measuring the effects that the UCLan model of dental training within a community setting has on the public in the local area and on the student’s professional development. A further large-scale project is following recent dental graduates in their early years to evaluate their readiness for independent practice, collecting information from the graduates and their educational supervisors.