Education Research: A Primer for Educators in Emergency Medicine


  • Presented at the Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors (CORD) Academic Assembly, San Diego, CA, March 2011.

  • This publication was made possible with support from the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI), grant number UL1 RR024140 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.

  • The authors have no relevant financial information or potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

  • Supervising Editor: John H. Burton, MD.

Address for correspondence and reprints: Lalena M. Yarris, MD, MCR; e-mail:


ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2011; 18:S27–S35 © 2011 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine


As medical educators strive to adopt an evidence-based, outcomes-driven approach to teaching, education research in emergency medicine (EM) is burgeoning. Many educational challenges prompt specific research questions that are well suited to investigative study, but educators face numerous barriers to translating exciting ideas into research publications. This primer, intended for educators in EM, provides a brief overview of the current scope and essential elements of education research. We present an approach to identifying research problems and conceptual frameworks and defining specific research questions. A common approach to curricular development is reviewed, as well as a fundamental overview of qualitative and quantitative methods that can be applied to educational research questions. Finally, suggestions for disseminating results and overcoming common barriers to conducting research are discussed.