Methods used and lessons learnt in conducting document reviews of medical and allied health curricula : a key step in curriculum evaluation

Rohwer, Anke ; Schoonees, Anel ; Young, Taryn (2014-11)

CITATION: Rohwer, A., Schoonees, A. & Young, T. 2014. Methods used and lessons learnt in conducting document reviews of medical and allied health curricula - a key step in curriculum evaluation. BMC Medical Education, 14:236, doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-236.

The original publication is available at http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6920/14/236

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

Article

Background: This paper describes the process, our experience and the lessons learnt in doing document reviews of health science curricula. Since we could not find relevant literature to guide us on how to approach these reviews, we feel that sharing our experience would benefit researchers embarking on similar projects. Methods: We followed a rigorous, transparent, pre-specified approach that included the preparation of a protocol, a pre-piloted data extraction form and coding schedule. Data were extracted, analysed and synthesised. Quality checks were included at all stages of the process. Results: The main lessons we learnt related to time and project management, continuous quality assurance, selecting the software that meets the needs of the project, involving experts as needed and disseminating the findings to relevant stakeholders. Conclusion: A complete curriculum evaluation comprises, apart from a document review, interviews with students and lecturers to assess the learnt and taught curricula respectively. Rigorous methods must be used to ensure an objective assessment.

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