The understanding and experience of students, tutors and educators regarding reflection in medical education: a qualitative study

Fiona Muir

Undergraduate Community Medical Education, Clinical and Population Sciences and Education Division, University of Dundee, UK

Submitted: 25/06/2010; Accepted: 13/08/2010; Published: 20/08/2010

Int J Med Educ. 2010; 1:61-67; doi: 10.5116/ijme.4c65.0a0a

© 2010 Fiona Muir. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: This exploratory study was designed to investigate the understanding and experience of students, tutors and medical educators with respect to reflection in medical education during the MBChB medical degree programme.

Methods: A qualitative approach was employed using semi-structure interviews. Seven medical students, eleven tutors and eight medical educators participated in the study. An inductive thematic analysis was used to accomplish the aim of this study.

Results: The results indicate that students, tutors and educators have an incomplete understanding of reflection. The cause exists at several points, not only at curriculum level but also at the level of the educator, tutor and the student. Whilst the study presents information regarding curriculum deficits and individual needs it also signifies that policy documents are not clearly understood. Assumptions were made by participants regarding the teaching, learning and assessment of reflection indicating a need for a review of student and tutor preparation.

Conclusions: The importance of reflection is frequently noted in the literature as an essential characteristic for professional competence. This research has highlighted the need for a much greater emphasis on reflection in or through teaching, learning and assessment. Suggestions to overcome these are offered.