The use of mixed methods social network analysis to evaluate healthcare professionals’ educator development: an exploratory study: an approach to evaluating educator development.

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Abstract

Introduction: Healthcare professionals’ educator development (HPED) is costly, both financially and in terms of clinicians’ time. However, there is little research into how HPED programmes can be evaluated. Research in other educational fields has demonstrated that the analysis of changes in learners’ social networks and the associated changes in social capital can reveal interesting and important effects of educational programmes which would otherwise be unknown. However, research on the social network impact of HPED is minimal.

Aims: The authors present an innovative exploratory study of a new evaluation methodology, which considers the social network and social capital of a participant after completion of a HPED programme. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time that such a method has been used in HPED.

Method: Mixed methods social network analysis (MMSNA) was used to measure and further understand the social capital of the participant after completion of a HPED programme. Data collection was via a self-report template and a semi-structured interview. An exploratory case study of a medical doctor who completed a HPED programme at master’s level was conducted in October 2018 at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, England.

Results: Relationships made through the HPED programme provided the participant with access to social capital in the form of educational expertise, knowledge and information about job opportunities. These new relationships changed the social network structure, with reduced network constraint and increased number of structural holes in the network of the participant. Such access to resources unavailable to others within the network placed the participant at an ongoing advantage.

Conclusion: MMSNA can reveal key benefits of HPED programmes which would not be apparent with other methodologies. The methodology produces results that can be transferred to other HPED programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
JournalJournal of Contemporary Medical Education
Volume10
Issue number1
Early online date23 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • social capital
  • social network analysis
  • health professions' education
  • evaluation
  • medical education
  • doctors

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