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Theory and Research in Audiology Education: Understanding and Representing Complexity through Informed Methodological Decisions
06 August 2020 (online)
Background: The discipline of audiology has the opportunity to embark on research in education from an informed perspective, learning from professions that began this journey decades ago. The goal of this article is to position our discipline as a new member in the academic field of health professional education (HPE), with much to learn and contribute.
Purpose: In this article, I discuss the need for theory in informing HPE research. I also stress the importance of balancing our research goals by selecting appropriate methodologies for relevant research questions, to ensure that we respect the complexity of social processes inherent in HPE.
Data Collection and Analysis: Examples of relevant research questions are used to illustrate the need to consider alternative methodologies and to rethink the traditional hierarchy of evidence. I also provide an example of the thought processes and decisions that informed the design of an educational research study using a constructivist grounded theory methodology.
Conclusions: As audiology enters the scholarly field of HPE, we need to arm ourselves with some of the knowledge and perspective that informs the field. Thus, we need to broaden our conceptions of what we consider to be appropriate styles of academic writing, relevant research questions, and valid evidence. Also, if we are to embark on qualitative inquiry into audiology education (or other audiology topics), we need to ensure that we conduct this research with an adequate understanding of the theories and methodologies informing such approaches. We must strive to conduct high quality, rigorous qualitative research more often than uninformed, generic qualitative research. These goals are imperative to the advancement of the theoretical landscape of audiology education and evolving the place of audiology in the field of HPE.