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Exploring chiropractic students' experiences of the educational environment in healthcare professional training: a qualitative study.

Palmgren PJ, Laksov KB - BMC Med Educ (2015)

Bottom Line: In later stages, the environment was experienced in terms of personal growth - balancing academic pressures and progress within the professional community - thus laying the foundations for autonomy and motivation.We found that experiences of an educational environment are dynamic and change over time.Likewise, researchers can consider these aspects of the educational environment when: interpreting results from quantitative and qualitative inquiries, constructing and refining instruments, or conceptualizing and framing the educational environment phenomenon.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, 171 77, Sweden. per.palmgren@ki.se.

ABSTRACT

Background: The educational environment has a significant impact on students' behavior, sense of well-being, and academic advancement. While various research methodologies have been used to explore the educational environment, there is a paucity of studies employing qualitative research methods. This study engages in an in-depth exploration of chiropractic students' experiences of the meaning of the educational environment.

Methods: A qualitative approach was employed by interviewing 26 students in four focus group interviews at two different points in time. A conventional manifest and latent content analysis was chosen to investigate and interpret the experiences of the educational environment in an undergraduate chiropractic training institution in Sweden.

Results: The analysis resulted in five overarching themes: Personal growth; Being part of a community; A place of meaningfulness; Trust in a regulated system; and Scaffolding relationships. Early in the training, the meaning of the educational environment was experienced as part of a vocational community and the scaffolding of intra-institutional relationships. In later stages, the environment was experienced in terms of personal growth - balancing academic pressures and progress within the professional community - thus laying the foundations for autonomy and motivation. During the clinical training, the environment was experienced as where learning happens, thus creating a place of meaningfulness. Throughout the training, the formal and clinical environments were experienced as isolating, with little bridging between the two. A regulated system - conveying an operative organization with clear communication regarding what to expect - was experienced as important for an apt educational environment.

Conclusions: We found that experiences of an educational environment are dynamic and change over time. When restructuring or evaluating curriculums, educational managers can consider the emerged themes as constituting facets relating to the educational environment, and thus possible learning conditions. Likewise, researchers can consider these aspects of the educational environment when: interpreting results from quantitative and qualitative inquiries, constructing and refining instruments, or conceptualizing and framing the educational environment phenomenon.

No MeSH data available.


Cross-contrasting groups. The figure depicts the analytical process of cross-contrasting sub-categories and categories in the four focus groups comprising the 26 participating students. *One group of participants (n = 6) comprised was interviewed at two different time points
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Fig1: Cross-contrasting groups. The figure depicts the analytical process of cross-contrasting sub-categories and categories in the four focus groups comprising the 26 participating students. *One group of participants (n = 6) comprised was interviewed at two different time points

Mentions: An inductive qualitative content analysis was employed to explore the data [42, 43]. The transcripts were examined line-by-line, and sub-categories and categories were developed without predetermined coding schemes. The analysis incorporated several steps: i) the transcribed interviews were read numerous times by PJP to become familiar with the text and to identify meaning units relating to the aim of the study and the questions in the interview guide; ii) the meaning units were condensed, and codes depicting the phenomenon under investigation were created by PJP and KBL; iii) the codes were unitized and abstracted into sub-categories and categories describing the manifest content of the data and were iteratively discussed by both authors; iv) interpretative cross-contrasting of sub-categories and categories were performed (Fig. 1); and v) the analysis focused primarily on an interpretational level, i.e., the investigators went beyond the explicit manifest content. Sub-categories and categories were interpreted and explored into themes expressing the underlying latent content of the data [42]. Thus, the qualitative analysis pertain to a communication theory as described by Watzlawick et al. [35], suggesting a depiction of the manifest content as what the text explicitly says and the latent content as what the text implicitly talks about and the underlying meanings. Although the steps above seem sequentially ordered, the analytical process and search for patterns was in no way linear; rather, it was dynamic, iterative, and recursive. While performing this ingeminated analysis, it became apparent that some categories were somewhat congruent with the model of human environment proposed by Moos [14]. Therefore, in the latter stage of the data analysis, this framework was juxtaposed with the emerging data and used as a lens for further analysis. Noteworthy, however, the analysis was still inductive in nature. During this analytical phase, another investigator (a senior researcher not eligible as author) was recruited and contributed to the investigative process. The issue of methodological rigor was variously addressed. The trustworthiness of the analysis was enhanced by investigator (with different professional backgrounds) triangulation. Throughout the analytical process, and primarily due to the principal investigator’s prior understanding of the empirical context, constant comparisons between the sub-categories and categories and the original data transcripts were made to ensure a good fit between the data and findings. We thus gave careful consideration to Patton’s dual criteria of internal homogeneity and external heterogeneity [38]. Emerging themes were continually discussed until a consensus was reached among the investigators.Fig. 1


Exploring chiropractic students' experiences of the educational environment in healthcare professional training: a qualitative study.

Palmgren PJ, Laksov KB - BMC Med Educ (2015)

Cross-contrasting groups. The figure depicts the analytical process of cross-contrasting sub-categories and categories in the four focus groups comprising the 26 participating students. *One group of participants (n = 6) comprised was interviewed at two different time points
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4526181&req=5

Fig1: Cross-contrasting groups. The figure depicts the analytical process of cross-contrasting sub-categories and categories in the four focus groups comprising the 26 participating students. *One group of participants (n = 6) comprised was interviewed at two different time points
Mentions: An inductive qualitative content analysis was employed to explore the data [42, 43]. The transcripts were examined line-by-line, and sub-categories and categories were developed without predetermined coding schemes. The analysis incorporated several steps: i) the transcribed interviews were read numerous times by PJP to become familiar with the text and to identify meaning units relating to the aim of the study and the questions in the interview guide; ii) the meaning units were condensed, and codes depicting the phenomenon under investigation were created by PJP and KBL; iii) the codes were unitized and abstracted into sub-categories and categories describing the manifest content of the data and were iteratively discussed by both authors; iv) interpretative cross-contrasting of sub-categories and categories were performed (Fig. 1); and v) the analysis focused primarily on an interpretational level, i.e., the investigators went beyond the explicit manifest content. Sub-categories and categories were interpreted and explored into themes expressing the underlying latent content of the data [42]. Thus, the qualitative analysis pertain to a communication theory as described by Watzlawick et al. [35], suggesting a depiction of the manifest content as what the text explicitly says and the latent content as what the text implicitly talks about and the underlying meanings. Although the steps above seem sequentially ordered, the analytical process and search for patterns was in no way linear; rather, it was dynamic, iterative, and recursive. While performing this ingeminated analysis, it became apparent that some categories were somewhat congruent with the model of human environment proposed by Moos [14]. Therefore, in the latter stage of the data analysis, this framework was juxtaposed with the emerging data and used as a lens for further analysis. Noteworthy, however, the analysis was still inductive in nature. During this analytical phase, another investigator (a senior researcher not eligible as author) was recruited and contributed to the investigative process. The issue of methodological rigor was variously addressed. The trustworthiness of the analysis was enhanced by investigator (with different professional backgrounds) triangulation. Throughout the analytical process, and primarily due to the principal investigator’s prior understanding of the empirical context, constant comparisons between the sub-categories and categories and the original data transcripts were made to ensure a good fit between the data and findings. We thus gave careful consideration to Patton’s dual criteria of internal homogeneity and external heterogeneity [38]. Emerging themes were continually discussed until a consensus was reached among the investigators.Fig. 1

Bottom Line: In later stages, the environment was experienced in terms of personal growth - balancing academic pressures and progress within the professional community - thus laying the foundations for autonomy and motivation.We found that experiences of an educational environment are dynamic and change over time.Likewise, researchers can consider these aspects of the educational environment when: interpreting results from quantitative and qualitative inquiries, constructing and refining instruments, or conceptualizing and framing the educational environment phenomenon.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, 171 77, Sweden. per.palmgren@ki.se.

ABSTRACT

Background: The educational environment has a significant impact on students' behavior, sense of well-being, and academic advancement. While various research methodologies have been used to explore the educational environment, there is a paucity of studies employing qualitative research methods. This study engages in an in-depth exploration of chiropractic students' experiences of the meaning of the educational environment.

Methods: A qualitative approach was employed by interviewing 26 students in four focus group interviews at two different points in time. A conventional manifest and latent content analysis was chosen to investigate and interpret the experiences of the educational environment in an undergraduate chiropractic training institution in Sweden.

Results: The analysis resulted in five overarching themes: Personal growth; Being part of a community; A place of meaningfulness; Trust in a regulated system; and Scaffolding relationships. Early in the training, the meaning of the educational environment was experienced as part of a vocational community and the scaffolding of intra-institutional relationships. In later stages, the environment was experienced in terms of personal growth - balancing academic pressures and progress within the professional community - thus laying the foundations for autonomy and motivation. During the clinical training, the environment was experienced as where learning happens, thus creating a place of meaningfulness. Throughout the training, the formal and clinical environments were experienced as isolating, with little bridging between the two. A regulated system - conveying an operative organization with clear communication regarding what to expect - was experienced as important for an apt educational environment.

Conclusions: We found that experiences of an educational environment are dynamic and change over time. When restructuring or evaluating curriculums, educational managers can consider the emerged themes as constituting facets relating to the educational environment, and thus possible learning conditions. Likewise, researchers can consider these aspects of the educational environment when: interpreting results from quantitative and qualitative inquiries, constructing and refining instruments, or conceptualizing and framing the educational environment phenomenon.

No MeSH data available.