Exploring the Feedback Process with Medical Students and Their Educators
: Listening, Watching, Understanding

  • Lynn Margaret Urquhart

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Feedback is consistently shown to be a key influence upon both achievement and performance. Feedback in medical education is not only important for the performance and progression of medical trainees but also for patient safety. However, despite recognition of the power of successful feedback, medical students within the United Kingdom and beyond consistently report dissatisfaction with the feedback they receive. Whilst the literature has begun to explore what students feel about feedback there is limited understanding of why they feel this way.

    Within this thesis are two distinct but related studies which combine to provide a synergistic picture of feedback at medical school. The first, a multi-school focus group study at three UK medical schools, explores students’ narratives of their lived experiences of positive and negative feedback. In exploring how students make sense of these experiences an in depth exploration is presented of not only what they think but also why.

    The second study presented in this thesis is a video-reflexive ethnography (VRE) study of feedback in two sites at medical school. This study comprises two phases: (1) an observational phase of data collection utilising video to capture feedback as it occurred in two sites at medical school (the simulated clinical skills setting and the medical workplace); and (2) the (reflexivity) phase of the study involving showing this footage back to student and tutor participants (separately) to explore their recognition and perception of feedback seen within the footage. In its totality, this VRE study allows for a comparison of student and tutor perspectives, as well as of feedback practices and perspectives in these two different sites.

    In summary, through listening to, and observing the lived experiences of feedback for medical students and their educators, the research presented within this thesis provides an in depth (and novel) understanding of both feedback practices and perceptions at medical school.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorCharlotte Rees (Supervisor) & Jean Ker (Supervisor)


    • Feedback
    • Medical Education

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