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Research opportunities

Summer studentships

How do students learn clinical reasoning?

We are seeking a summer student to join our research team. Our team is studying how clinical reasoning skills are learnt by undergraduate medical students and how those skills are taught to them by our teachers at the Dunedin School of Medicine. Clinical reasoning can be defined as the cognitive processes medical practitioners use to arrive at a diagnosis and treatment plan (Eva, 2005). Its role and importance in medical practice is well established, however our understanding of how students develop clinical reasoning skills is less well developed. This study builds upon findings from our summer student project last year that examined how senior clinicians taught clinical reasoning. In this study, qualitative methods will be used to collect and analyse interview data from approximately 20 Year 6 students (trainee interns). The interview protocol will include questions about events, experiences, and interactions with people that students perceive to help or hinder their learning of clinical reasoning skills. Concepts from script theory (Charlin, Tardif, & Boshuizen, 2000) will be used as analytic tools to interpret the data.

Reference

Charlin, B., Tardif, J., & Boshuizen, H. P. (2000). Scripts and medical diagnostic knowledge: Theory and applications for clinical reasoning instruction and research. Academic Medicine, 75(2), 182-190.
Eva, K. W. (2005). What every teacher needs to know about clinical reasoning. Medical education, 39(1), 98-106.

Supervisors

Primary Supervisor
Associate Professor Ralph Pinnock
Associate Dean of Medical Education
Dunedin School of Medicine
Telephone 64 3 470 9838
Email ralph.pinnock@otago.ac.nz

Secondary Supervisor
Dr Megan Anakin
Lecturer in Medical Education and Education Advisor
Dunedin School of Medicine
Email megan.anakin@otago.ac.nz

How do medical students want to experience digital learning at Otago?

Students are increasingly asked to use digital learning tools as part of their study at medical school. Student opinion about the digital learning environment is an important part of understanding what is working well for students, and what areas could be developed further.

In March 2017 all medical students at the University of Otago were invited to complete a survey of their digital experiences as part of an international benchmarking project (Newman & Beetham, 2017). I am seeking a student to assist in the analysis of the data from this survey to establish baseline measures of opinions at ELM and each of the three ALM schools, and to identify and explore differences between year and location of study. Some quantitative analysis will be required, along with qualitative analysis of comments using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2008). Data will be interpreted with reference to digital wellbeing, student engagement, and self-efficacy.

References

Braun, V and Clarke, V (2008). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology. Retrieved from www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
Newman, T and Beetham, H (2017). Student digital experience tracker 2017 (June). Retrieved from repository.jisc.ac.uk/6662/1/Jiscdigitalstudenttracker2017.pdf (PDF 2MB)

Supervisors

Primary Supervisor
Dr Steve Gallagher
Lecturer in eLearning
Dunedin School of Medicine
Telephone 64 3 470 9598
Email steve.gallagher@otago.ac.nz

Secondary Supervisor
Dr Megan Anakin
Lecturer in Medical Education and Education Advisor
Dunedin School of Medicine
Email megan.anakin@otago.ac.nz

Further postgraduate research opportunities at the Dunedin School of Medicine