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The importance of ‘student voice’ in dental education



Although much published school and higher education research have established a strong conceptual foundation for eliciting student feedback, this element is relatively poorly developed in dental education research. This paper examines ‘student voice’ as a conceptual/theoretical framework and justification for attending to students' perspectives in dental education. The aims of this review paper were: to explore the concept of student voice, including some pragmatic considerations and key critiques of listening to student feedback; to critically analyse key debates about the importance of a research focus on student perceptions using themes from the seminal and contemporary educational literature on student voice from the school, higher and dental educational sectors; to identify gaps in the dental education literature in relation to students' perceptions of their learning, and highlight some practical implications drawn from the ‘student voice’ literature for dental education; and to assist dental educational researchers in developing a strong rationale for listening to student voice in dental educational institutions. This paper is intended to assist dental educational researchers in justifying future research projects which require eliciting dental student feedback/perceptions.