Researching in Surgical Education: An Orientation

  • Rola AjjawiEmail author
  • Craig McIlhenny
Part of the Innovation and Change in Professional Education book series (ICPE, volume 17)


This chapter provides an orientation to research approaches in surgical education. Education research seeks to deepen the knowledge and understanding of learning and pedagogy. We start with highlighting common research paradigms. Beliefs about knowledge and reality influence research questions and design, and so it is important to be aware of these and to actively consider these assumptions in the research design process. We then outline the link between conceptual frameworks and research questions. A brief audit of published surgical education research highlights that most of the research in this field is quantitative in nature, single site and atheoretical. We conclude with a discussion of the challenges and opportunities for surgical education research. Surgical education offers a rich and exciting setting for conducting education research. We urge surgical education researchers to go beyond their comfort zones, to use theory and to consider alternative research paradigms.


Surgical education research Research paradigm Trends Conceptual framework Quality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE)Deakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Scottish Centre for Simulation and Clinical Human FactorsLarbertUK
  3. 3.Royal College of Surgeons of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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