Conceptual frameworks to illuminate and magnify
Article first published online: 18 MAR 2009
© Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2009
Volume 43, Issue 4, pages 312–319, April 2009
How to Cite
Bordage, G. (2009), Conceptual frameworks to illuminate and magnify. Medical Education, 43: 312–319. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2009.03295.x
- Issue published online: 18 MAR 2009
- Article first published online: 18 MAR 2009
- Received 25 August 2008; editorial comments to author 4 November 2008; accepted for publication 11 December 2008
Context In a recent study of the quality of reporting experimental studies in medical education, barely half the articles examined contained an explicit statement of the conceptual framework used. Conceptual frameworks represent ways of thinking about a problem or a study, or ways of representing how complex things work. They can come from theories, models or best practices. Conceptual frameworks illuminate and magnify one’s work. Different frameworks will emphasise different variables and outcomes, and their inter-relatedness. Educators and researchers constantly use conceptual frameworks to guide their work, even if they themselves are not consciously aware of the frameworks.
Methods Three examples are provided on how conceptual frameworks can be used to cast development and research projects in medical education. The examples are accompanied by commentaries and a total of 13 key points about the nature and use of conceptual frameworks.
Conclusions Ultimately, scholars are responsible for making explicit the assumptions and principles contained in the conceptual framework(s) they use in their development and research projects.