Researching Medical Education Virtual Conference – Re-thinking Scholarship in Medical Education Research

12th November 2020
Virtual Event

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Researching Medical Education Virtual Conference: Re-thinking Scholarship in Medical Education Research
Thursday 12th November – 9am-5pm 
Researching Medical Education is a one-day conference for all those interested in medical and clinical education research. The conference is designed and run by the Association for the Study of Medical Education’s Education Research Committee. The conference this year will be a virtual event in partnership with MedAll. The event is designed to maintain the spirit of RME through a blend of keynote sessions and interactive workshops. Virtual networking opportunities are also in abundance!
This year’s theme reflects ASME’s mission of Advancing Scholarship in Medical Education. This includes fostering and supporting the types of educational research that can inform and shape the purposes and practices of health professional education and training. RME 2020 creates a space to explore the ways in which this can be achieved.
The RME conference will be of interest to career researchers, teachers of medical / clinical education research and those studying award bearing courses in medical and healthcare education. This includes those undertaking intercalated degrees, masters level courses and those undertaking doctoral level qualifications. Most of all it creates opportunities for rich and lively conversations about educational research and scholarship.
Please note we are not accepting abstract submissions for this conference
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Registration is now closed – we closed registration at 5pm, Monday 9th November
For those who have registered you will receive an email from MedAll shortly to register for the virtual platform
Please email: with any questions
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Plenary Speakers
We are delighted to be joined by…
Professor Dilly Fung

Professor Dilly Fung became Pro-Director for Education at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK in 2018. She has senior leadership responsibility for student education and the wider student experience across the School, and has introduced a number of high profile innovations including the Education for Global Impact framework which is a core part of the LSE 2030 strategy.
Education for Global Impact draws on Dilly’s open access monograph, A Connected Curriculum for Higher Education (Fung 2017), which explores the qualities of research-rich education and provides a spectrum of practical approaches to programme design within and across the disciplines. This framing of education situates students as investigators, creative producers and leaders of change, and her LSE Change Makers programme is a flagship example of putting this into practice at the LSE. Overall undergraduate student satisfaction at the LSE, as measured by the National Student Survey, has risen by more than 13% in two years.
To read more about Dilly, please click here
Dilly’s plenary lecture will focus on Strength-based scholarship: Pushing the boundaries
Where are the purposes of and possibilities for education-focused scholarship? Where are the current boundaries, and should we be extending them? Can we develop more engaging ways of expressing and communicating that scholarship to others? In this session we will look afresh at what we might mean by ‘good’ education, to broaden our notions of scholarship and its possible impact. We’ll draw on the field of philosophical hermeneutics to explore these questions, and consider how we can avoid inadvertently limiting the scope and depth of our ‘scholarship circle’ (Fung 2017a). Participants will be invited to discuss how, by promoting stronger links across disciplinary, methodological, cultural and organisational boundaries, we can build on our own personal strengths and passions as educators and scholars, and model a richer framing of education itself (Fung 2017b).
Fung, Dilly (2017a) Strength-based scholarship and good education: The scholarship circle, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 54:2, 101-110 please click here to access the paper
Fung, Dilly (2017b) A Connected Curriculum for Higher Education London: UCL Press – please click here to access the text
Dr Chris Watling

Dr. Watling is Professor in the Departments of Oncology, Clinical Neurological Sciences, and Family Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University in London, Canada.  He is the Vice Dean (Acting), Education Scholarship and Strategy, the Director of Schulich’s Centre for Education Research and Innovation, and a Faculty Scholar at Western University.  From 2010-2019, he was the Associate Dean for Postgraduate Medical Education at Schulich.  He has a Masters in Medical Education from the University of Dundee and a PhD in Health Professions Education from Maastricht University. His research, widely published in the medical education literature, explores how and why feedback influences learning, and how medicine’s professional culture shapes its educational practices.  He is an avid teacher of academic writing, and is the co-author, with Lorelei Lingard, of an upcoming book on the subject.
Chris’s plenary lecture will focus on Making Research Matter: Theory and Practice as Kindred Spirits
Education research aims to explore, to understand, and to challenge assumptions.  It also needs to shape our educational practices.   But positioning theory and practice as partners in these endeavours is rarely straightforward.  Exploratory research risks disconnection from the real concerns of educators and educational institutions, limiting its uptake.  Conversely, an over-emphasis on application and implementation risks constraining the development of new insights that will advance the science of education.  Drawing on the experiences and challenges of a career that straddles research and leadership, I will explore this tension.  I will argue that exploratory research and education policymaking are not incompatible,  and will examine how each may be enhanced by a closer connection with the other. 
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Please see a list of the workshops below
Workshop registration closed at 5pm, Monday 9th November, there after registrants were allocated workshops by the organisers 
If you have any questions relating to this please email: 
Workshop Strand 1 (10:45-12:00)
Individual and Group Interviews
Dr Janet Lefroy, Keele University School of Medicine
This workshop is aimed at new researchers of Medical Education.
We will cover:

What types of data can you get from individual or group interviews?
How to construct interview guides
How to conduct interviews

The workshop will be interactive using research questions provided by participants as the substrate for discussion and development of interview guides
Institutional Ethnography
Dr Grainne Kearney, Queen’s University, Belfast 
Institutional Ethnography (IE), a qualitative approach to inquiry developed by sociologist Dorothy Smith, examines how our everyday lives are organised from a critical perspective. Within Health Professions Education (HPE) it has previously been used to research topics such as the hidden curriculum and how ‘evidence’ is taken up in practice. It is gaining traction in HPE, particularly with its commitment to go beyond understanding towards enabling change. However, its apparent complexity can be a barrier for HPE researchers.
This workshop aims to give practical guidance on how attendees could use the approach in their settings.
By the end of the workshop, attendees will have:

Enhanced understanding of the fundamental concepts underlying IE
Increased knowledge of existing IE research in HPE
Practical understanding of how they might begin an IE study

Digging deeper: employing methods to enhance qualitative research interviews 
Prof Gerry Gormley, Queen’s University, Belfast
Whilst useful at eliciting insights of participants’ experiences, traditional research interviews can fail to capture the depth and breadth of an individual’s story. Drawing upon social sciences and other disciplines, there are a range of techniques that can enrich interview data by making visible the unverbalizable.  Methods including ‘Rich Pictures’, ‘Pictor’, ‘Photovoice’ /‘Photo elicitation’ and ‘Point of View (PoV) filming’ – can help interviewers gain a deeper understanding of participants’ experiences. These techniques allow interviewers to empathize with participants about his/her particular activity that is being researched, while also providing a new communication register for individuals and communities whose ability to use language is limited.
Learning Objectives: 
This workshop will introduce participants to a range of methods that can enhance qualitative research interviews. Specifically, participants will (1) learn some key principles of successful interviewing, (2) collect some unconventional, but highly productive, interviewing strategies, and (3) understand the pitfalls and the possibilities of using visual methods. We expect that participants will gain sufficient theoretical and practical skills to begin employing visual methods in their research.
Getting started in medical education research
Prof Bob McKinley & Dr Eliot Rees University of Keele
This workshop is aimed at early career medical educators (including students) who are planning or considering their first research study in medical education.
We will explore how to identify appropriate research questions, different research methodologies, and common pitfalls for new researchers.  We will signpost to sources for further detail for individual projects, and general sources of information and support.
We encourage participants to consider an area or research question that they are interested in investigating in advance of the workshop where possible.
Situated ethics in medical education research – sweating the real stuff
Prof Anita Berlin, Queen Mary University London
Research ethics are generally seen as a set of common principles which can be applied to a range of investigatory approaches.  These have become codified and managed through formal research ethics mechanisms. This workshop seeks to explore another set of ethical issues  – those shaped by the diverse situations in with research takes place  – so called “situated ethics” (Simons & Usher 2000). This is the messy real stuff that we grapple with in medical education research!
Using vignettes and participants’ experience we will seek to explore situated dilemmas that may arise in different loci of our field:

Faculty stuff
Ownership of project- educators or researchers
Authorship – legitimacy and hierarchy – teachers, students, evaluators, curriculum leaders 
Student stuff
Students as subjects: insider or outsider research – access to students (Surveyitis Cronica)  
Inter subjective student research – students researching each other (disclosure/voyeurism)
Patient- public stuff
Telling stories: Case studies – if it’s ok for teaching is it OK for research/publication?
Shaping projects: co-production of the research or the education

Workshop Strand 2 (13:00-14:15)
Questionnaire Design
Dr Sharon Sneddon, University of Glasgow 
Many research studies use questionnaires to gather data as it seems a quick and easy method.  Good questionnaire design is the key to collecting useful and meaningful data. This workshop will provide an understanding of the basic concepts, principles, and practices of questionnaire design, as well as considering some of the common issues and pitfalls such as questionnaire format, use of response scales and validity.
Embarking On Narrative Analysis: Applying the Listening Guide to Participant Stories
Dr Dawn Jackson, University of Birmingham
Peoples’ stories are told for a purpose; offering a rich insights for researchers into culture, context and identity.  However, for the researcher, untangling the data within a narrative interview can be challenging, and it can be hard to know where to start. 
In this workshop, we will consider and apply Brown and Gilligan’s ‘Listening Guide’ to a narrative interview.  This 4-phase approach to analysis enables the researcher to attend to the many voices and relationships within a narrative, including those of the narrator, the researcher and the wider socio-cultural context. This interactive workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to apply the Listening Guide to narrative data, and offers a hands-on experience of analysis for anyone considering narrative research methods.

Provide an introduction to narrative interviewing
Outline things to consider when choosing the approach to analysis
Hands-on experience in applying Brown and Gilligan’s listening guide to narrative analysis
Consider the voice of the researcher within narrative analysis (research reflexivity)
Build confidence in narrative analysis for those embarking on narrative research

Realist Review
Professor Karen Mattick & Dr Daniele Carrieri, University of Exeter
In this RME Showcase, we will share our experience and insights, gained through two NIHR-funded projects, of applying a Realist Review method to topics relevant to the medical education field.  The first project (now complete) aimed to understand the social and professional factors influencing the antimicrobial prescribing of doctors-in-training, called the IMPACT review; the second project (ongoing) aims to improve understanding of how, why and in what contexts mental health services and support interventions can be designed in order to minimise the negative impacts of providing care on UK doctors’ mental ill-health, called Care Under Pressure.  We will provide insights into the realist review process, including key decision points and dilemmas encountered, and encourage participants to ask questions and shape the discussion.  We will finish the session with a discussion of what other medical education topics might benefit from a realist review approach and what the downsides or limitations might be.
Working with learning theory
Prof Clare Morris, University of Cambridge & Dr Anne-Marie Reid, University of Leeds
The views we hold about learning will shape the way we work as educators and educational researchers. In this workshop we will explore how your understandings of knowledge and learning, and previous experience have shaped your approach to research.  We will discuss the value of making your views on learning explicit in your approach to research. In particular we will consider how your views shape and inform research design from the ways you frame research questions, identify your unit of analysis, gather, analyse and report on data.
How to get your papers published in different types of journals
Professor Peter Cantillon, Professor of Primary Care, NUI Galway, Ireland, Dr Samantha Scallan, GP Education Unit, Southampton
Whether you are an experienced author of published papers or a medical educator wanting to see your name on an author list for the first time, this workshop is intended to help you have a more productive and enjoyable experience in successfully submitting your work for publication. The aims are to work interactively to explain how the editorial process works, identify what makes a good academic paper, where to send it and how to respond to reviewers.
Workshop Strand 3 (15:30-16:45)
Discourse analysis: first thoughts
Dr Anne-Marie Reid, University of Leeds
‘Discourse Analysis’ is a broad term encompassing a number of approaches to analysing communication whether written, spoken, signed or otherwise expressed. We will use this workshop to consider what that might mean for researchers in medical education.  Using artefacts related to Medical Education and practice this workshop will provide the opportunity to perform some preliminary analyses and share our experiences.  A broad reading list will be provided for those interested in following up their preferred perspective. 
Making Data Visual 
Lisi Gordon, University of Dundee & Dr Kim Walker, University of Aberdeen
This workshop will explore ways in which data can be made visual through are range of options. Traditional thinking around dissemination of research as only possible through publication in journals has given way to more innovative ideas to share data findings in a way that can make often complex nuanced understandings more accessible to wide audiences. Through use of examples, participants will have the opportunity to discuss the ethical and practical implications associated with developing visuals from data- as well as sharing ideas for how they can use these techniques within their own research
Video Reflexive Ethnography
Ms Aimee Charnell University of Leeds
This workshop will explore video-reflexive ethnography (VRE), an evolving, post-qualitative methodology. VRE casts light on mundane, yet essential tasks in healthcare, such as handovers, communication, clinics, and ward rounds. Working closely with clinicians, team-level optimisation may be supported. Research using VRE encompasses three phases, all completed in collaboration with clinicians: video ethnography, clip selection, and video-reflexive (similar to focus group) sessions. This workshop will consider the origins of VRE and consider how it compares to similar methodologies. Candidates will have the opportunity to consider how VRE may be used in their area, with opportunity to discuss individual projects if applicable, and the practical implications and ethical processes involved.
Masters Projects – maximising the opportunities and overcoming the challenges
Prof Simon Gay, University of Leicester
Simon is a GP and enthusiastic medical educationalist at the University of Leicester with lots of experience of supervising medical education Masters Projects.
This workshop is aimed at delegates who are considering undertaking a Masters project in medical education or who have recently started their Masters project. There will be ample opportunity to discuss thoughts, ideas, concerns and challenges as well as lots of top tips about how to get the most out of a Masters project.
“…ideas are like chessmen moved forward: they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.” (J.W. Von Goethe)
So please come along and discuss your ideas…
How to develop your research idea into a research project or programme 
Dr Chris Watling, Western University in London, Canada
Have you found yourself wondering how to get started with education research?  Many of us in education roles recognize the challenges that our work presents, and feel motivated to develop research ideas that arise from those challenges.  While some of the problems we encounter in education work simply require solutions, others cry out for creative exploration.  We can stumble, however, when it comes to determining which is which.  How do we decide which ideas deserve our scholarly attention?  And once we have decided, how to we bring those ideas to fruition?
In this workshop, I will lead participants through a series of activities that will allow them to zero in on those ideas with the most potential to generate novel and compelling research, to craft research questions that will resonate with a wide audience, and to lay the groundwork for a successful research study.  Key elements will include:
1) Moving from a topic of interest to a problem that demands research
2) Surveying existing literature to map the space your work will occupy
3) Proactively articulating the “so what” of your research project
4) Engaging in thoughtful planning to ensure methodological rigour
5) Strategizing about effectively sharing your scholarship
This workshop will offer both novice and experienced researcher’s new strategies for choosing strong ideas and for developing those ideas into meaningful contributions to the education literature.
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RME 2020 Re-thinking scholarship in Medical Education Research
When we chose the theme for RME 2020, little did we know how much re-thinking we would need to do, in order to move our intimate, in-person conference virtually. This was ASME’s first virtual conference and we were so well guided and supported by Phil McElnay and his team from MedAll.
ASME’s mission is Advancing Scholarship in Medical Education; as a committee we have been giving considerable thought as to the meanings of scholarship and the practices that can support its development (see The RME conference is pivotal to this, providing a shared space to think and talk about the ways in which we undertake educational research and draw on that research to inform and develop our practice as medical and healthcare educators.
Scholarship includes taking part in inter-disciplinary and inter-professional dialogue – we were therefore particularly delighted to welcome two keynote speakers who each invited us to think about scholarship within and beyond disciplinary and organisational boundaries.
From London, UK we had Prof Dilly Fung, Pro-Director for Education, London School of Economics and Political Science who started our conversations about scholarship, inviting us to think about value-guided educational practice and leadership. Her session was warmly received.
‘This was incredibly inspiring and yet full of practical direction for my career journey.’
‘Offered valuable  insights into the broader meaning of scholarship.’
‘It was an amazing session which broadened my thinking’
“empowering to see a woman leading the field’.
From London, Ontario we were joined by Prof. Chris Watling, Director of the Centre for Education Research & Innovation, Schulich Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, who deftly explored the relationships between theory and practice in medical education, drawing on his fascinating work looking at signature pedagogies. As one delegate said ‘I understand much better now  the use of other learning environments to shed light on our own.” Delegates loved the opportunity to ask questions and found his work clear, compelling and intriguing. His work resonated with many of the delegates.
‘Fantastic presentation, thought provoking and re-energizing as a medical education academic and potential education leader.’
‘Honestly, it was the talk about everything I feel I wanted more information on, all in one place. I would really like to re-watch this if possible.’
This last delegate will be delighted to know that we recorded our keynote sessions and hope to make them available early in the new year.
As in previous years, we offered a full suite of workshops. We are particularly grateful to colleagues who took time to familiarise themselves with a new learning environment (so brilliantly supported by colleagues from MedAll who facilitated the event). They had the usual blend of workshops that focussed on methodological issues, including ways of gathering, analysing and disseminating research findings. Other workshops focussed on the practices of undertaking research projects and writing them up for publication. We included familiar methodologies, like interviews and surveys and those that are perhaps less familiar, like institutional ethnography. Special thanks go to Dr Matt Webb who put this programme together, hoping to appeal to such a diverse range of delegates, including intercalating medical students, those doing masters and doctoral programmes in medical education and post-doctoral researchers, clinical educators and academics. We were delighted to note how many delegates talked about the ways in which the sessions were engaging and inclusive – no mean feat with 155 registrants. The upside of this being a virtual event this year was that we had more of an international presence, with people joining us from all corners of the globe.
We approached our reconfigured conference with a degree of trepidation. We were delighted to see how positive delegates and presenters were about the overall conference experience. Thank you to all of those involved.
We look forward to RME 2021. Conference theme and format still to be agreed but do hold the date for Thursday 18th of November 2021.
Clare Morris, Chair of ASME Educational Research Commitee


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