gms | German Medical Science

Research in Medical Education – Chances and Challenges International Conference

20.05. - 22.05.2009, Heidelberg

Core Research Competencies for Scholars and Researchers in Medical Education: An MSc and PhD Program

Meeting Abstract

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Research in Medical Education - Chances and Challenges 2009. Heidelberg, 20.-22.05.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09rmeG6

doi: 10.3205/09rme42, urn:nbn:de:0183-09rme426

Published: May 5, 2009

© 2009 Violato et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Medical education as a specialization area of scholarship and research is continuing to grow but there has been no systematic study of required core competencies.

Purpose: The purpose was to determine key competencies and curriculum for researchers acquiring the MSc and PhD degrees.

Methods: We reviewed documents such as calendar and web information, interviewed leaders in the field and studied peer reviewed papers, texts, and scholarly studies.

Results: There are six major areas of competencies:

Medical education expert,
Educational leader,
Curriculum designer,
Educational researcher and Scholar, and
Learner assessor.

We propose a graduate program to achieve these competencies for the MSc:

Foundations in Medical Education,
Research Methods and Design in Medical Education,
Curriculum Design,
Instructional Methods,
Medical Education Measurement, and
Educational Leadership and a thesis.

Three courses for the PhD:

Advanced Research Methods and Design in Medical Education,
Advanced Curriculum Design and Evaluation,
Advanced Measurement and Psychometrics together with Candidacy Exams and a dissertation.

In particular, the researcher at both the MSc and PhD level should have expertise in multivariate design and analysis (e.g., MANCOVA, regression, discriminant function analysis, cluster analysis, multiple comparisons, nonparametric statistics, rates and proportions, sampling, factor analyses, structural equation modeling, etc.) and psychometrics (e.g., Classical Test theory, Item Response Theory, Rasch Models, Generalizability Theory, etc).

Conclusion: Highly educated scholars and researchers in medical education at both the masters and doctoral levels should have these cores competencies. Medical education needs professionals with the specific competencies identified, specifically in multivariate design and analysis and psychometrics.